As the report by the Council of Europe’s Special Rapporteur Pieter Omtizgt on the rule of law in Malta is set for a plenary debate at the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) next week, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has teamed up with other international press freedom and human rights organisations to call for its adoption at an event in Strasbourg next week.
The son of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Matthew, will be participating in a panel debate being held on 26 June in Strasbourg that will address the key findings in the report by Special Rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt ahead of the report’s discussion at the Parliamentary Assembly.
Matthew will be joined by The Shift News founder and editor Caroline Muscat, RSF’s UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent, and Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Barrister from Doughty Street Chambers. The debate will be moderated by Lord Foulkes.
The event is supported by another seven leading press freedom organisations: the European Federation of Journalists, Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, IFEX, PEN International and the International Press Institute.
The report from the PACE Special Rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt titled, ‘Daphne Caruana Galizia’s Assassination and the Rule of Law in Malta and Beyond: Ensuring That the Whole Truth Emerges’ lists 10 serious concerns on the investigation into the assassination of Caruana Galizia, and shortcomings in the rule of law in the country that put Europe at risk.
“Malta’s weaknesses are a source of vulnerability for all of Europe and if Malta cannot or will not correct its weaknesses, European institutions must intervene,” the recently approved report by Omtzigt states.
RSF is concerned that 20 months after the journalist’s assassination there remains no justice.
“So far, justice has not been possible within Malta. We remain seriously concerned by the clear deficiencies in the criminal investigation, the refusal by the Maltese authorities to launch a public inquiry, and the broader systemic problems in terms of rule of law and democratic checks and balances in Malta that have recently been detailed by the Venice Commission and GRECO.
So long as the Maltese authorities continue to prevent efforts towards full justice for this heinous attack, we will continue to increase efforts to hold them accountable at the international level,” Vincent said.
The approved report demands that Malta begin an independent public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s assassination within three months, as required under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights. It points out that the powers of the Prime Minister have increased since Muscat was elected in 2013 and almost all institutional appointments are under his control, which undermines democracy and the rule of law.
The main findings of the report will be discussed together with the evidence from the Venice Commission and GRECO, which all detail grave rule of law violations which impact freedom of speech in the country and the safety of journalists still working in Malta, and the implications for journalists’ safety, press freedom and democracy across Europe.
The event will be held on 26 June at Palais de l’Europe (second floor, room 3) at 1pm.
The event was made possible with the support of the Justice for Journalists Foundation.