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Malta: PEN International’ statement on the conclusions and recommendations of the Public Inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia

miércoles 4 agosto 2021 - 1:59pm

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PEN International welcomes the conclusions and recommendations of a milestone Public Inquiry into the assassination of Malta’s leading investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia. PEN International calls on the Maltese authorities to accept the Board of Inquiry’s detailed recommendations and to publish a plan of action on how they will be implemented in a non-partisan manner without delay and ensure better protection of journalists going forward.

Published on 29 July 2021, the Public Inquiry marks a milestone in the fight for truth and justice for Caruana Galizia’s assassination, and a step forward in battling impunity for crimes against journalists.

The inquiry’s found that: “the State has to shoulder responsibility for the assassination because it created an atmosphere of impunity, generated from the highest levels in the heart of the administration of the Office of the Prime Minister and like an octopus spread to other entities like regulatory institutions and the police, leading to the collapse of the rule of law. As a result the State (a) failed to recognise the real and immediate risks, including the criminal intent of third parties towards the life of Daphne Caruana Galizia; and (b) failed to take measures within the scope of his powers which, with reasonable judgment, the State was expected to take to avoid that risk. While the inquiry did not identify proof of direct government involvement in the assassination, it found that state authorities created a “favourable climate” for anyone seeking to eliminate her to do so with the minimum of consequences.”

In its report, the Board of Inquiry proposes a series of recommendations to the Maltese authorities. Among others, it proposes to strengthen the rule of law and adopt the recommendations of the Venice Commission, the GRECO report and the PACE Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee. It also proposes to strengthen the protection of journalists and freedom of expression in the country, aimed at remedying the failure of the Police and regulatory authorities to promptly and effectively investigate allegations by the journalist. Furthermore, the board proposes to create an Ombudsman on journalistic ethics and to strengthen the impartiality of the Public Broadcaster, to revise the Freedom of Information Act in order to strengthen government transparency and to revise the Media Defamation Act in order to address the problem of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, commonly known as SLAPPs.

The Board goes onto propose to reform the Maltese Constitution, aimed at formally recognizing freedom of expression as a pillar of democracy, as well as to address the allocation of state advertising to the media and to establish a Committee of Experts of academics, media law experts, journalists and media house owners with the aim of examining the state of journalism and the exercise of freedom of expression in Malta.

PEN International pays tribute to the courage of the members of the Board of Inquiry in the independence, impartiality and professionalism they have demonstrated in producing this report.

For a full statement please click here.

Signed by:

PEN International

ARTICLE 19

Association of European Journalists

Commonwealth Journalists Association

Committee to Protect Journalists

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

Free Press Unlimited (FPU)

International Press Institute (IPI)

OBC Transeuropa

Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Note to editors

For further information, please contact Sabrina Tucci, Communications and Campaigns Manager, Sabrina.Tucci@pen-international.org t. +44 (0)20 7405 0338 |Twitter: @pen_int | Facebook: www.facebook.com/peninternatio... | www.pen-international.org

I have out us first…but I know article 19 is leading on that…what do you think?