The Council of Europe Platform for the Promotion of Journalism and the Protection of Journalists has expressed deep concern over the lack of progress in the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Three men were arraigned and accused of the murder after Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car bomb explosion on 16 October but the council said that more than three months after the journalist’s brutal murder there are no public indications to suggest that the authorities have identified the people who commissioned, planned or orchestrated the murder.
In a statement, the council reminded the Maltese government that guidelines related to judicial follow-ups to the killing of journalists approved by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in April 2016 state that “investigations must be effective to maintain public confidence in the authorities’ maintenance of the rule of law and to prevent any appearance of collusion in or tolerance of unlawful acts.”
The guidelines also recommend that “investigations should be subject to public oversight, and that the victim’s next of kin must be involved in the procedure to the extent necessary to safeguard their legitimate interests.”
The council also joined Caruana Galizia’s family in calling on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to appoint a special rapporteur to monitor the ongoing murder investigation and make an assessment of the contextual circumstances that led to her murder.
The statement, signed by a number of members of Council of Europe Platform for the Promotion of Journalism and the Protection of Journalists, including Reporters Sans Frontières, Article 19 and European Federation of Journalists added that Caruana Galizia’s death “raised concerns not only about protection of critical journalists but also about the rule of law and corruption in Malta.”
Expressing concern regarding several worsening press freedom trends, the co-signatories noted that Caruana Galizia’s murder exposed the dangers which journalists around Europe faced last year.