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Mapping Media Freedom registers threat against French journalist in Malta

Men are filmed by French M6 TV crew removing flowers and photos at the protest memorial in Valletta.

The threat made against a French journalist filming the removal of flowers and candles at the protest memorial to Daphne Caruana Galizia in Valletta has been registered by Mapping Media Freedom, a European project that tracks threats, violations and limitations imposed on media professionals.

A Maltese man shouted at the crew working on the production of the M6 documentary on corruption in Malta, telling journalist Camille Le Pomellec, “Go back to your country, see the problems there”. The man then stood up and approached the camera adding, “Go away, because I’ll kill you”.

It is the most recent threat out of a total of 30 threats reported in Malta over the last five years. The report details how “a French TV crew from M6 were threatened by a bystander when filming two people being physically attacked at a protest memorial for Daphne Caruana Galizia in Valletta”.

An independent organisation with a scope that spans 43 countries, Mapping Media Freedom tracks risks faced by journalists on the job. Jurisdictions covered include EU Member States, candidates for membership and neighbouring countries.

In the latest incident, the French journalist was filming a segment for the documentary released last week called, ‘Malta, Jewel of the Mediterranean and Paradise of Corruption’.

The documentary created controversy in Malta after a representative of an agency selling Maltese citizenship, Jean-Philippe Chetcuti, boasted of his close friendship with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship Julia Farrugia.

The agency’s licence has since been suspended, the government said. Yet a promotional video for the firm released only last year featured Farrugia promoting the cash for passports scheme, with Chetcuti Cauchi having been given access to use Castille as their shooting location. 

Other recent threats to press freedom in Malta registered on Mapping Media Freedom include Ministers Konrad Mizzi, Chris Cardona and Edward Scicluna using “abusive language to “threaten investigative journalism outlet” The Shift News, as well as the cyber attacks against the news portal. Four threats against The Shift News were filed in one year.

The site also has registered threats against journalists from The Times of Malta and Newsbook and attempts to stop journalists in Malta from reporting on migrant arrivals. It records the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and attempts to silence her in her lifetime with libel suits.

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