Aditus ‘strongly condemns’ PM’s ‘blatant attack’ on judiciary, journalists

Human rights organisation Aditus has “strongly condemned” the words of Prime Minister Robert Abela in “his blatant attack on the judiciary and journalists”.

In a statement, Aditus said the prime minister’s speech left no room for interpretation, adding that it was a direct and unequivocal undermining of people and positions simply because he was not comfortable with their activities.

“A prime minister should under no circumstance exploit his power to shame, bully or intimidate anyone. When the targets are the judiciary and journalists, the entire nation should rise up in their defence and say, ‘Enough!’.”

Joining criticism of the prime minister’s rhetoric in the wake of the conclusion of the hospitals inquiry, Aditus also said the pillars of democracy were fundamental to upholding the rule of law and ensuring accountability in any democratic society.

“Yet, the prime minister’s recent statements and actions demonstrate a clear disregard for these principles. They pose a grave threat to the foundations of democracy in Malta.”

By openly criticising and undermining the judiciary, the prime minister was eroding the separation of powers and compromising the impartiality of the legal system, the organisation added.

“His attempts to intimidate and discredit judges who uphold the Constitution and defend the rights of citizens are nothing short of an assault on justice itself.”

Aditus also referred to “the prime minister’s attacks on journalists and media organisations” that represent a “dangerous escalation in his campaign to silence dissent and suppress freedom of expression”.

“They embody his cowardly attempt to delegitimise the vital role of the press in holding power to account and informing the public.”

The organisation said it was “deeply concerning” that the highest office in the land was being used to undermine the very institutions that are meant to safeguard democracy and protect the rights of all citizens.

Such behaviour sets a dangerous precedent and sends a chilling message to anyone who dares to speak truth to power.

Director and human rights lawyer Neil Falzon said: “We remind Robert Abela of what happened the last time a Maltese prime minister orchestrated such a campaign against the free press. Let us never again go down that road again.”

Aditus called for the prime minister to immediately cease his attacks on the judiciary and journalists and to respect the principles of democracy and the rule of law.

The organisation also urged all citizens to stand in defence of democratic institutions: “We must demand accountability from those in power.”

                           

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