The Malta Independent 28 January 2023, Saturday
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The Daphne Public Inquiry: ‘This has been a wasted year and government wanted it to be that way’

Albert Galea Sunday, 24 July 2022, 08:30 Last update: about 7 months ago

Repubblika President Robert Aquilina said he was less than impressed with the government's work since the publication of the Daphne Public Inquiry report a year ago.

Aquilina was contacted for comment on his views on the implementation of the board’s recommendations.

“The government has not acted on the recommendations put forward by the public inquiry. They have congratulated themselves many times but have delivered no results,” he told The Malta Independent on Sunday.

“On the front of protection of journalists, they spent months doing nothing. They then appointed an experts’ group that operated behind closed doors. We know nothing of their recommendations which the government has kept secret in spite of their commitment to publish. In the meantime, as OSCE observers noted, we’ve had a general election campaign where many of the problems identified by the inquiry were repeated. A journalist’s image was plastered on the Labour Party’s campaign billboard as a figure of hate. Labour’s TV station ran isolation and denigration campaigns against journalists and activists. TVM systemically ignored news that could put the government in a bad light creating a false narrative that made liars of independent journalists,” he said.

“On the rest of the recommendations of the inquiry the government did nothing, or worse. In Parliament, Prime Minister Robert Abela mocked even the concept of introducing anti-mafia legislation branding implicitly the authors of the inquiry report as “people who want Malta to be called a mafia state”. He mocked even the idea of rules governing pre-electoral conduct by ministers, an idea renewed in the recent OSCE findings. There is no discernible effort to improve capacity in the courts and no political will to address the deep-set challenges identified by the inquiry,” he added.

“This has been a wasted year and the government wanted it to be that way. They want people to forget a journalist has been killed in this country, or better, from their point of view, they want people to think it doesn’t matter all that much,” he concluded.

 

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