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PN files motion to strip Tony Zarb of national award

Tony Zarb receiving the Gieh ir-Repubblika award in 2015. Photo: DOI, Omar Camilleri

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia filed a parliamentary motion to revoke the award Ġieħ ir-Repubblika from former General Workers Union secretary general Tony Zarb over comments he made in a video clip on Facebook about murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The motion, signed by Delia and Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi, said Zarb’s words served to create division in the country and they were unacceptable coming from someone who had been given one of the country’s highest honours by the State.

It requested President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca to strip Zarb of the award given to him in 2015 because this type of hate speech was never justified and should not be uttered by anyone – least of all those who had a public role.

Last month, Zarb released a video where he said he was glad assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was no longer alive. “Continue with your stupid antics (bużulotti), continue placing flowers for her and adoring her, but the most important thing for our Malta is that she never returns,” he said.

He was referring to citizen’s protest messages at the Great Siege Monument in Valletta that has been barricaded to prevent citizens from placing candles, flowers and messages calling for freedom and justice for the assassinated journalist at its base.

The parliamentary motion said that Zarb’s words “justify the actions of the three charged in connection with the assassination” and led one to believe that, if he could, Zarb would not have prevented the murder of Caruana Galizia.

His rant also showed that he was contributing to an environment where attacks on the media were justified.  Zarb’s words defied the Maltese Constitution – especially that of the right to life, according to the motion filed by all members of the PN’s Parliamentary Group.

It called on Parliament had to strongly condemn this type of speech as it could never agree to be an accomplice to speech that a journalist, whoever that may be, as the enemy.

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