The Malta Independent 22 October 2018, Monday

Daphne's murder: European Commissioner backs call for UN representative to protect journalists

Sunday, 17 December 2017, 08:30 Last update: about 11 months ago

European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans this week said he is backing the #ProtectJournalists campaign initiated by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) for the creation of a United Nations Special Representative for the Safety of Journalists.

Timmermans’ statement of support comes in the wake of an appeal by RSF to European governments and institutions to do more to protect journalists after the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia on 16 October.

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Timmermans informed RSF in a letter, "I am pleased to tell you that I support the #ProtectJournalists campaign and would welcome the creation of a UN Special Representative for the Safety of Journalists."

RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire commented, "We are very grateful to Frans Timmermans for his support for the protection of journalists. More than 60 journalists have lost their lives in 2017 alone. It is time to put an end to these abuses, which seriously violate the right of millions of citizens around the world to be informed."

Earlier, on 19 September, French President Emmanuel Macron also voiced support for the #ProtectJournalists campaign in an address to the UN General Assembly on 19 September. Dozens of other governments around the world, from Afghanistan to Spain, and from Sweden to Uruguay, are calling for the creation of such a position.

Launched by RSF in 2015, the #ProtectJournalists campaign is supported by more than 130 media outlets, NGOs and labour unions.

Earlier this week, Reporters Without Borders Board Member Professor Roy Greenslade said in an address at the British Journalism Award:I just want to finish with a word about the killing of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. You know that she died when her car was bombed on 16 October and are probably aware that three men have since been charged with her murder, while seven more are on bail.

“But Reporters Without Borders maintains that an independent, international inquiry should be held into Daphne’s death. Her sons, who spoke to our board recently, have good reason to suspect that there is a political aspect to the murder because Daphne was investigating corruption at the highest levels of the Maltese government. They have called for the senior investigator to be replaced. We sincerely hope everyone here will support our call for an investigation into the callous, premeditated murder of a fine journalist.”

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