The Malta Independent 17 February 2020, Monday

EP President commemorates Daphne Caruana Galizia on World Press Freedom Day

Thursday, 3 May 2018, 19:26 Last update: about 3 years ago

On the occasion of today's World Press Freedom Day, European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani received a memento commemorating Daphne Caruana Galizia and her struggle for truth from Maltese Artist Kevin Scerri, in the presence of the mother and father of the murdered journalist.

A country can call itself democratic only if journalists and media can work in a free and independent environment, acting as guardians for the respect of the rule of law, Tajani said at the ceremony.

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He lamented that too many media representatives - also in Europe - are still suffering from hostility, censorship, violence, physical and financial threats.

In an emotional meeting with Daphne Caruana Galizia's parents, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and MEP Roberta Metsola reiterated that they would not stop fighting for justice and for the truth about the assassination.

President Tajani and MEP Roberta Metsola were talking during the unveiling of a sculpture donated to President Tajani by Maltese artist Kevin Scerri in the European Parliament on International Press Freedom Day. The sculpture was handed over to the European Parliament President in a symbolic ceremony in the presence of Daphne Caruana Galizia's parents, Michael and Rose Vella, and members of her family. The sculpture, commemorating the life and work of Daphne Caruana Galizia, will be displayed in the Press Room of the European Parliament in Brussels.

Tajani said: ""It is an honour for me to receive this artwork representing the struggle for truth by Daphne Caruana Galizia on International Press Freedom Day.  Her struggle is our struggle. An attack on a journalist is an attack against our fundamental freedoms. We will not stop until justice is done with Daphne, with her family and with her work. I have said it when I was in Malta to pay respect to Daphne Caruana Galizia at the funeral: we want to know who is the mastermind behind this barbaric murder.

"The Parliament is also acting on the need to protect journalists with concrete measures. Last week we requested the European Commission to present legislative proposals against intimidatory SLAPP law suits and to propose initiatives to promote quality journalism in the Member States. In honour of Daphne, we will insist that these requests are followed up with actions." said President Tajani.

"I looked into her parents' eyes and promised them again that their battle for truth and justice for their daughter is our battle too. It will not be swept under the carpet. Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated for seeking the truth and nothing will stop us from demanding justice. Her assassins and those who ordered them not only deprived Malta of a journalist, they took the life of a daughter, mother, sister, wife and friend, but even in death they could not silence her - other journalists took up her baton and formed the Daphne Project", said Roberta Metsola.

"Daphne Caruana Galizia personified the European way, she demanded better from her representatives, from the political class and wanted the highest standards for her country. This sculpture will be put on display in the heart of European democracy - it will commemorate her life and her work and serve a constant reminder of the need to protect media freedom and the rule of law in the European Union." said MEP Metsola.

Maltese artist Kevin Scerri said that his artwork symbolises the courage and determination of journalists all over the world, who do not stop despite adversities in their quest for truth. The wooden sculpture depicts a clenched fist holding a broken pencil over a bay laurel leaf, symbolising Daphne Caruana Galizia's strength and courage. "The message I have tried to convey to journalists and to those who wish to silence them is that 'If you break our pencil, we will sharpen all its pieces and come back stronger'. After Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated it is now up to all of us to sharpen her broken pencil and continue her quest to uncover the truth".

Tajani referred to the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters without Borders (RSF), measures the level of media freedom in 180 countries and launches alarming signals: "Hostility towards the media - it says - openly encouraged by political leaders, and the efforts of authoritarian regimes to export their vision of journalism pose a threat to democracies.

"Malta, Czech Republic, Serbia and Slovakia have registered a sudden worsening of their press freedom indicators. Two cases, in particular, call for our immediate concerns and action: the hideous murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak, who have lost their lives because of their heroic quest for truth.

"They were courageous people and fine journalists and were not afraid to do whatever was needed to fulfil their duty and to defend our values.

"To honour and remember their commitment for media freedom we should introduce a European Parliament annual prize for investigative journalist named after both of them. Daphne and Jan: we have not forgotten you. We will not forget you. The European Parliament will continue to echo the strong voice of 500 million citizens looking for justice.  We do not want just the name of the killers. We want the name of the instigators.

"For this, I call on the Maltese and the Slovak authorities to spare no effort in shading full light on what happened, also through the necessary international cooperation among law enforcement authorities.

"Unfortunately, Daphne and Jan are not the only recent victims of the hatred against free press. According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), 28 other media representatives were killed so far in 2018 - nine of which only in the hideous recent terrorist attack on 30 April in Kabul.

"Let me remember and praise all of them:

Jefferson Pureza; Paul Rivas; Javier Ortega; Vijay Singh; Navin Mischal; Sandeep Sharma; Carlos Dominguez Rodriguez; Angel Gahona; Zeeshan Ashraf Butt; Ahmed Abou Hussein; Yaser Mutaja; Abdullah Al Qadri; Mohamed Al Qadesi; Pamika Montenegro; Bashar al Attar; Abdullah Rahaman al Yacine; Efrain Segarra; Khaled Hamo; Oussama Salem; Salimi Ali; Talash Salim; Fezi Shah Marai; Rajabi Noroz Ali; Rasoli Ghazi; Darani Maharam; Kakeker Sabvon; Hananzavi Ebadollah; Tokhi yar Mohammad.

"My thoughts are with them and their families."

Earlier in the day, Daphne Caruana Galizia's parents and members of her family also met EPP-Group Chairman Manfred Weber and EPP-Group Secretary General Martin Kamp. 

During the meeting, Chairman Weber said: "Daphne Caruana Galizia was a journalist who revealed serious corruption and abuse of power cases. I am satisfied that the Daphne Project continued with such investigations in their quest for the truth. The EPP Group fully supports Partit Nazzjonalista's insistence for justice to take place on Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder and to ensure that those guilty of corruption and abuse of power are brought to justice."


 

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