The Malta Independent 4 December 2023, Monday
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Commissioner Mijatovic raises concerns over freedom of expression, lack of justice for Daphne

Tuesday, 3 October 2023, 10:25 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, published a letter she sent to the Prime Minister and to the Speaker of the Parliament of Malta today, expressing concern about the implementation of the recommendations of the public inquiry report into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the effective exercise of the human right to freedom of expression.

The journalist was killed in a car bomb on 16 October 2017.


In her letter to the Prime Minister, the Commissioner regretted the lack of significant results in bringing to justice all those responsible for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. She also stresses that proposed legislative changes to strengthen freedom of expression fall short of comprehensive reforms in line with international human rights standards and lack transparent consultation.

Furthermore, she underscores that repeated cases of denial of access to information under the Freedom of Information Act raise concerns about unjustified secrecy within state institutions and calls on the authorities to cease fostering a climate hostile to journalists and media workers.

In her letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Commissioner urged lawmakers to refrain from adopting the current legislative proposals before Parliament to amend provisions of the Constitution and various other laws relating to freedom of expression, the right to privacy and the protection of journalists.

Of particular concern are the proposed provisions to address Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, which appear inadequate to address the very real threats they pose to freedom of expression, media freedom and, more broadly, to the foundations of democracy and the rule of law, the letter said.

Lastly, the Commissioner underlined the important role of the Parliament in strengthening freedom of expression in the country and recommends that it engage in substantive, inclusive and transparent consultations with civil society, the media and interested citizens to ensure that the legislation is in line with international standards on freedom of expression and the protection of journalists.


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