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‘If journalists are silenced, so is democracy’, European Commission warns

European Commission says democracy cannot survive if journalists are no longer able to report freely

The European Commission has once again called for “the full truth” on the the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and urged the Maltese authorities to bring to justice the mastermind behind the assassination.

In a joint statement by the European Commission’s First Vice-President Timmermans and commissioners Vera Jourová and Maria Gabriel one year after the assassination of Caruana Galizia, the commission said “we don’t want these murders to have a chilling effect on free media. Citizens should be able to form their own opinions based on unhampered investigation and independent reporting.”

“That is why the persons responsible for these assassinations must be brought to justice. We want the full truth. We need to send a clear signal to all journalists: it is safe to work in Europe. If journalists are silenced, so is democracy. This will not happen in Europe. Not on our watch,” the commission added.

As Malta and the world marks one year since the assassination of Caruana Galizia, the Commission said “today, we honour the hard work and relentlessness of Daphne, of Jan Kuciak and many other journalists who sacrifice everything they have – sometimes even their lives – to seek the truth. It is also an occasion, for Europe, to pause for a moment and think about what we hold dear: our right to speak freely.”

The Commission reaffirmed its call for the protection of free speech and free media and said democracy cannot survive if journalists are no longer able to report freely, if they are subject to censorship, if they are prevented from reporting criticism of the powers that be and especially if they are intimidated, harassed, threatened and sometimes even killed just for doing their job.

“Theirs is a job democracy relies and depends upon,” the Commission said.

“In this vein we must also consider whistleblowers, often sources of investigative journalism, who need protection as well. They rely on us to provide for their safety, we cannot let them down.”

Meanwhile, the president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani said “Daphne we have not forgotten you and we will not forget.”

In a tweet, Tajani said that one year on from the assassination, the European Parliament “is still calling loud for justice to be done.”

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