Journalists’ institute calls for investigation over harassment at Caruana Galizia memorial

Occupy Justice’s banner removed by Cleansing Department

The man claiming to be an employee of the Cleansing Department attempted to stop a journalist from filming their activities
The man claiming to be an employee of the Cleansing Department attempted to stop a journalist from filming their activities
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The Institute for Maltese Journalists have called for an investigation into the harassment of a Newsbook journalist by a member of the cleansing department that was removing candles and a banner remembering Daphne Caruana Galizia from the boarded-up Great Siege monument.

A man who claimed to be a Cleansing and Maintenance Division employee is seen in footage uploaded by Newsbook harassing the journalist, who was filming cleansing division employees taking down a banner installed Saturday morning on the fence erected round the Great Siege monument.

“The IGM condemns in the strongest possible terms any violence, interference or harassment of journalists while they are on duty,” said Yannick Pace, IGM chairperson.

“It is unacceptable for anyone, and especially government employees who should set an example, to attempt to stop a journalist from filming or reporting. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that journalists have been harassed or threatened and told to delete footage or photos they had taken.”

The IGM said that such demands have no legal basis. “Journalists are legally entitled to take film and photos of anything that happens in the public domain, particularly where this is necessary and justified for reasons of substantial public interest.”

The IGM is calling on the relevant authorities to investigate the incident and to take the necessarily disciplinary action, while ensuring that such incidents do not repeat themselves in the future. 

The NGO Occupy Justice said it had put up the banner on the boards now blocking the monument in front of the law courts in Valletta, because Sunday 16 September marks the 11th month from the assassination of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. 

“The Great Siege monument is more than a memorial for the slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia: it is also a memorial for truth and justice,” Occupy Justice said.

“The banner we put up this morning was removed on government orders within hours, and the flowers and candles placed in front of the banner by the activists were binned. They were recovered after a complaint filed at the police station, and reinstated by the same activists.

“Is it now extremely evident that our freedom of expression is being blatantly suppressed. We will not stand by and let this happen. We live in a democracy and it is our right to protest and our right to freely express our opinions. We shall therefore be staying through the night in front of the memorial until the vigil tomorrow at 7pm,” Occupy Justice said.