May 2, 2018
Prime Minister of Malta
Office of the Prime Minister
Auberge de Castille
Valletta VLT 1061
Via email: [email protected]
Dear Mr. Muscat,
The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, international press freedom advocacy organization, calls on you to drop your libel lawsuit against murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in which her family are now the defendants.
The libel claims stem from Caruana Galizia’s April 2017 investigation that alleged your wife was the ultimate beneficial owner of a Panama offshore company, a charge she had denied. The case is still pending at a Valletta court.
Continuing to pursue the case both diminishes the credibility of your commitment to bringing Caruana Galizia’s killers to justice and places an unjust burden on the late journalist’s family.
We ask that you withdraw your claim against Caruana Galizia and her family and that you urge other members of your government who continue to sue her family to do the same.
The Daphne Project–a collaborative investigation into Caruana Galizia’s work involving 18 newsrooms in 15 countries-brings into sharp relief the significance of her work for Malta and her commitment to uncovering corruption in her homeland. The project also highlights the years of threats, attacks, and harassment Caruana Galizia faced in retaliation for her work, many of which went unanswered and ultimately emboldened her killers.
You downplayed this project’s significance, referring to it as “stories that are being rehashed,” and made a veiled threat to those who “have been caught lying to smear Malta’s name,” during an April 22 interview with the Maltese ONE Radio. This reaction to an international journalistic investigation is unbecoming of a European leader who says he is working to get justice for Caruana Galizia, just as The Daphne Project aims to do.
Your denigrating response, coupled with your ongoing lawsuit against Daphne Caruana Galizia’s heirs fosters a tense atmosphere in Malta, one that has compelled the Caruana Galizia family to temporarily leave the island, fearing for their safety.
As a personal affirmation of commitment to justice we call on you to drop your defamation case against the late journalist and her family.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We await your response.
G. Kathleen Hill, Ambassador of the United States to Malta
Marlene Bonnici, Permanent Representative of Malta to the European Union
Elena Grech, Head of the European Commission Representation in Malta