The Committee to Protect Journalists joined four other press freedom groups on Thursday in calling on Malta’s government to publish without delay an expert report aimed at improving the difficult environment for the media following the assassination of leading investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and to consult widely on any proposed legislation.
The Committee of Experts was set up to implement recommendations made by a public inquiry into Galizia’s murder in 2017. The committee’s report could serve as a basis for the government to prepare legislation impacting media freedom in Malta.
Read the full statement below and read more about press freedom in the European Union in CPJ’s special report “Fragile Progress.”
Malta: Government must publish Committee of Experts on Media report
The undersigned international media freedom and journalists’ organizations today call on the government of Malta to publish without further delay the report by the Committee of Experts on Media, the body tasked with advising the Government on implementing the recommendations of the Public Inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. We also urge the government to launch a broad public consultation process on the draft legislation it intends to propose before presenting this legislation in parliament.
It is of concern that despite having received the Committee’s report on 24 July 2023 the government has so far not published it. It is furthermore understood that this report will serve as a basis for the Government of Malta to prepare anti-SLAPP legislation and other legislation impacting media freedom in Malta, and that this legislation will be presented to parliament before being published for a public consultation.
The environment for journalists in Malta remains difficult. Journalists continue to face threats of abusive procedures, serious challenges in accessing information held by public authorities, are the targets of negative rhetoric uttered by persons holding public office and other actions which reduce public trust in independent journalism. It is therefore essential that the Committee’s report is published without further delay, and that any proposed legislation is given adequate time for scrutiny and review to ensure it is in line with international standards.
The Committee of Experts on Media, the body set up by the Prime Minister of Malta to implement the recommendations of the Public Inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, submitted their report which includes an analysis of anti-SLAPP legislation to the Office of the Prime Minister on 24 July 2023. Under the Terms of Reference of the Committee, the Prime Minister must table the report and its recommendations before parliament within 10 days of receipt.
Our organizations’ contribution to the Committee’s consultation concerning anti-SLAPP provisions is available here.
ARTICLE 19 Europe
Committee to Protect Journalists
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)