‘All responsible for Caruana Galizia murder must be held to account’ – UK Commonwealth Minister

Those who are responsible for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia must be held to account, according to UK Commonwealth, UN and South Asia Minister of State Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon.

Ahmad was addressing the House of Lords on Wednesday where he was questioned about the British government’s role in “bringing to justice those responsible for violence against journalists in the Commonwealth and globally”. 

Ahmad was also asked about the British government’s “discussions with the Maltese government about the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia”.

Ahmad said the British government “remains closely engaged with the authorities in Malta and is clear that all responsible must be held to account”.

Asked about the support provided to the families of the journalists, Ahmad added that he can “ensure that (they) are providing full support to the family, and have made representations repeatedly to the Maltese government”.

Reporters Without Borders UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent pointed out in a post on social prior to the debate in the House of Lords, that “many of the concrete recommendations have so far gone unheeded”. She was referring to a report from September 2019 addressed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In the report, titled Media Freedom is Under Attack: The FCO’s Defence of an Endangered Liberty, the Foreign Affairs Committee said that they wanted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), also known as the Foreign Office, “to do more in public to shame those who persecute the media,” referring to “examples in Malta, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey”.

It was one of 10 recommendations by the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Other recommendations included the FCO supporting an international mechanism to investigate and punish the abuse of journalists if governments will not and using sanctions against those who persecute the media, Another recommendation was to provide training and/or technical assistance to journalists to counter harassment and intimidation, including online.

Within the report, the committee told the office that it should have pressed for an independent judicial public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s assassination. “Her death should set a precedent for accountability and not, as it does currently, for impunity”.

Lord Baron Black, who put the questions, also raised the death of journalist Christopher Allen in South Sudan.

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