Press associations urge Prime Minister to hold independent inquiry into Caruana Galizia murder

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom and 24 other organisations signed a letter addressed to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat asking him to reconsider Malta’s position

More than 25 organisations urged Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to hold an independent inquiry into the journalist's murder
More than 25 organisations urged Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to hold an independent inquiry into the journalist's murder

A group of press associations and human rights NGOs are urging Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to hold a public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia ahead of the one-year anniversary of her brutal killing.

Caruana Galizia was killed using a car bomb as she left her home in Bidnija on the 16 October last year.

In their letter, the organisations noted that a team of lawyers representing the family had issued a legal opinion in which they found that Malta had failed to institute any inquiry into whether the Maltse state bore any responsibility for the journalist’s death.    

The family had requested that a public inquiry be established under the Inquiries Act, that is completely independent of the Maltese police, government and politicians. Moreover, it requested that the inquiry be conducted by a panel of respected international judges, retired judges and/or suitably qualified individuals with no political or government links.

READ MORE: Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family want full public inquiry into murder

"We fully support the request and urge you to reconsider your position and to respond immediately and positively to the request of the family of Ms Caruana Galizia. Protecting the lives and voices of journalists in Malta and across Europe depends upon this public inquiry. There is nothing to fear from this inquiry but the truth," the organisations said. 

They argue that despite criminal proceedings being initiated by local authorities against the men who allegedly killed her, with an ongoing magisterial inquiry into whether others should be charged with criminal offences for commissioning the alleged assassins, “neither process is investigating the wider and even more serious question as to whether the Maltese state is responsible for the circumstances leading to Caruana Galizia’s death”.  

The NGO point out that the under the European Convention of Human Rights, Malta was required to examine whether the state knew, or ought to have known, of a real immediate risk to Caruana Galizia’s life; the adequacy of any steps taken by Malta to guard against that risk; any steps Malta needs to take to prevent future deaths of journalists.

READ MORE: Government tells Caruana Galizia family’s UK lawyers that legal opinion contains ‘incorrect information’

The letter was signed by Access Info, Active Watch, aditus foundation, Article 21, Blueprint for Free Speech, Committee to Protect Journalists, European Federation of Journalists, Global Editors Network, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and IFEX (the global network of over 100 freedom of expression organizations), Index on Censorship, Integra Foundation, International Press Institute, OBC Transeuropa/ Centro per la Cooperazione Internazionale, Ossigeno per l'Informazione, PEN International, PEN America, Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta (PHROM), Press Emblem Campaign, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), South East Europe Media Organisation, Transparency International, The Critical Institute, The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom and The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

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