The government is currently analysing feedback it received on legal amendments required to strengthen the media in Malta, as well as entrenching the fourth pillar of democracy in the constitution, Justice Minister Jonathan Attard announced on Wednesday.

He said the government had received feedback from the committee of experts led by retired judge Michael Mallia that was appointed to advise on how to implement recommendations related to the media made by the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry.

Mallia also chaired that board of inquiry, which wrapped up its work in July last year.

The retired judge and seven other members sit on the committee, which includes journalists, editors, academics and a lawyer.

In a statement issued following a meeting with representatives of the Institute of Maltese Journalists (IĠM), who also sit on the committee, Attard said work was underway to analyse the feedback.

The feedback on the proposed laws was handed to Prime Minister Robert Abela at the beginning of June.

The committee’s first assignment was to assess changes to the law that the government was proposing.

Legislative changes range from the inclusion of an anti-SLAPP provision to protect journalists from vexatious foreign lawsuits to amending the Constitution to entrench the notion of a free press within it.

“The feedback is being analysed so that the government will be in a position to table the necessary legal amendments in parliament,” he told the IĠM.  

He added that the government was committed to continuing to strengthen journalism in a spirit of dialogue and transparency.

The meeting was attended by IĠM president Matthew Xuereb and secretary-general Kurt Sansone.

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