A committee of media experts tasked with advising the government on how to revise local press laws is to hold a national conference on February 15.
The conference will seek to solicit opinions and proposals from stakeholders and anyone with an interest in the media, to see how to best update local laws. It will feature a plenary session followed by break-out focus groups tasked with making concrete proposals on how to amend specific laws.
The committee said that it would provide further details in due course. Stakeholders can provide feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appointed in January 2022, the eight-person committee of experts was given two months to provide feedback on changes to laws concerning press freedom, anti-SLAPP provisions and defamation and libel laws.
Those proposals stem from conclusions reached by a three-judge inquiry into the 2017 murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Justice Minister Jonathan Attard subsequently unveiled plans to pass three Bills concerning media reform into law and described the plan as a “historic” one.
But the proposals faced severe pushback from journalists and media analysts, who demanded that the plans be opened to public consultation, and were even disowned by the committee of experts itself, which said that many of its most salient recommendations had been watered down.
As international scrutiny on the government’s plans cranked up, Prime Minister Robert Abela met with the Institute of Maltese Journalists to discuss their concerns and later announced that the Bills would be frozen until the committee consulted further and provided updated recommendations.