‘We need to do more to ensure fundamental democratic principles are not rolled back’ – Roberta Metsola

The European Parliament needs to do more to ensure that our democratic societies are strong enough for “fundamental principles not to be rolled back”, according to European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

Answering a question following her speech during Sunday’s vigil to commemorate the commemoration of the fifth year since the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Metsola added that on the day of Daphne’s assassination the European Parliament woke up to the “strongest of signals that we need to do more”.

She explained that the lead-up to the European Parliament elections in 2024 will be crucial to make sure that MEPs “deliver back to our citizens, especially the citizens I’m elected from, in Malta, that we have done our job”.

During her speech, earlier in the evening, Metsola criticised the government for still not respecting the work of journalists five years after Caruana Galizia’s assassination. The government, she said, continues to “hide information, discriminate how its advertising is dispersed, denies interviews to the independent media and permits its people to harass journalists on social media”.

Earlier last week, Maltese MEP David Casa, Co-Chair of the Media Working Group of the European Parliament, co-hosted a round table event to debate the recent proposal for a Media Freedom Act, which aims to better protect media pluralism, editorial independence, and journalistic freedom across the whole of Europe.

European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová also attended the debate, where she stated, “The Media Freedom Act is an essential step forward toward protecting the press, in Malta and in Europe. My colleagues and I have long been calling for this”.

“The press in Europe is at risk everywhere,” David Casa said at the roundtable, referring to the results of the 2022 Media Pluralism Monitor. “Malta was deemed to be at high risk for editorial independence and political interference.

Casa observed how the draft regulation will see formal requirements for editorial independence, and mandatory transparency in the way taxpayer money is used, to fund the media.

Following on from last week’s events, the European Parliament will later today debate The Rule of Law in Malta, five years after the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia during its plenary session.


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