International press organisations, Council of Europe salute memory of Caruana Galizia

Three years after assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, clock is ticking for Malta’s authoritie to uncover the truth about this brutal murder

Flowers, candles and messages demanding justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia placed at the foot of the Great Siege monument in Valletta
Flowers, candles and messages demanding justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia placed at the foot of the Great Siege monument in Valletta

International press and media freedom organisations have saluted the memory of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, three years from her assassination.

19 international free expression, anti-corruption, civic participation, and journalists’ organisations have once again demanded an end to impunity for the heinous attack on the press.

“As alleged murder mastermind, Yorgen Fenech, is facing criminal proceedings and the three defendants charged with carrying out the contract killing Alfred Degiorgio, George Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat, are awaiting trial, we recall that justice delayed is justice denied. We call for thorough and effective criminal investigations and prosecutions that ensure the whole truth is uncovered and all those responsible for Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder are held to account in court,” the organisations, which include the International Federation of Journalists, PEN America, and Transparency International, said.

“We welcome the fact that a public inquiry has been established into the broader circumstances of the assassination and whether it could have been prevented, albeit only following sustained pressure and in the face of ongoing government obstruction. To date, the public inquiry has uncovered extensive failures of the state and its entities to protect the life of Daphne Caruana Galizia and a pattern of intimidation and harassment of her and her family, as well as other independent journalists, steered from the highest levels of government.”

The organisations said that for the public inquiry to be effective, the Board of Inquiry must be allowed to continue to independently fulfil its Terms of Reference. “In this regard, we have been gravely concerned by Prime Minister Robert Abela’s attempt to impose a time limit, unduly interfering with the fair and effective fulfilment of the Board of Inquiry’s task.”

The organisations said it was unacceptable that the Caruana Galizia family was still fighting lawsuits brought against the journalists by former prime minister Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle, former minister Konrad Mizzi and his wife Sai Mizzi Liang, and the businessman Silvio Debono and others.

“We will continue our campaigning and joint advocacy until there is full justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia. We hope that this year will be the last time that, in commemorating her, we must call for an end to impunity and the continued harassment of her family, so that we can fully focus on honouring her legacy as a fearless investigative reporter.”

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, also saluted Caruana Galizia as the “symbol of a decades-long struggle in Europe and beyond” – “on the one hand, we have the journalists who are killed to be silenced and their families’ long fight for justice and, on the other, the authorities, who so frequently take such an ineffective or passive approach towards their obligations to investigate, identify and punish the hitmen and the masterminds.”

Mijatović said the clock was ticking for Malta’s authorities, making it a top priority to uncover the truth about this brutal murder.

“As a first step, the authorities should ensure the independence of the public inquiry. Establishing accountability for her death is the only way justice can be served for Daphne and for Malta’s human rights obligations towards its people and its international partners to be honoured. This is something that is owed first and foremost to her family and fellow journalists but there is also an important obligation to uphold media freedom and keep journalists safe.”

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