Seven international press freedom and human rights organisations have called on EU leaders from France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus and Spain currently in Malta for the South EU Summit to “address the ongoing impunity in the case of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia”.
The organisations refer to the report by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Special Rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt that was adopted by the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee meeting in Paris on 29 May.
The report highlights a series of concerns relating to the investigation into the murder of Caruana Galizia, and Malta is requested to establish an independent and impartial public inquiry within three months to determine whether the State could have prevented the assassination.
This is a call made repeatedly by the signatories of the appeal: The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Article 19, IFEX, PEN International, Index on Censorship, and the International Press Institute (IPI).
Omtzigt’s report noted fundamental weaknesses in Malta’s system of democratic checks and balances, seriously undermining the rule of law. This is an alarming situation, particularly in a Council of Europe and EU Member State. The Maltese authorities are called upon to take steps to end the prevailing climate of impunity.
“So far, the Maltese government has blocked a public inquiry, leaving journalists continuing to work in Malta at great risk and forcing Caruana Galizia’s family to litigate the Prime Minister’s refusal to hold a public inquiry into the assassination. Only a public inquiry can determine how best to guarantee the safety of journalists and prevent future attacks,” the organisations said.
The call for a public inquiry is supported by a resolution by the European Parliament which requests the Maltese government to launch a public inquiry, and calls on the EU institutions and the Member States to initiate an independent international public inquiry into the murder and the alleged cases of corruption, financial crimes, money laundering, fraud and tax evasion reported by the journalist.
“By signing the Sibiu Declaration, you have pledged to safeguard Europe’s democratic values and the rule of law. We therefore urge you to address the matter of safety of journalists and ongoing impunity in the case of Daphne Caruana Galizia in your meeting with Prime Minister Muscat in Valletta on 14 June,” the organisations said.