Media freedom groups reiterated their call for press safety in Malta while calling for justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia on the sixth anniversary of the journalist's assassination.

In a statement on Monday, 13 international organisations renewed their call to bring to justice all those responsible for the journalist's murder on October 16, 2017. Three men have been convicted for Caruana Galizia's murder and three others are awaiting trial.

A public inquiry set up in 2019 issued a comprehensive list of recommendations in 2021 after concluding that the state should shoulder the responsibility for the journalist's murder.

Its key demand was that the state should formally acknowledge the "grave shortcomings" of Joseph Muscat's administration leading up to the 2017 car bomb. It also said police and all relevant authorities should continue their investigations to ensure anyone involved in the assassination is held accountable.

The organisations said that for the last two years, they have "repeatedly drawn attention to the lack of progress in implementing the public inquiry's recommendations to safeguard the media and improve journalists' safety".

They called for the strengthening of three proposed laws aimed at improving media safety to meet international standards on the protection of journalists, including the "government's watered-down" anti-SLAPP legislation.

"Maltese authorities should mark the sixth anniversary of Caruana Galizia's death by making unequivocal statements in support of full justice for her murder, committing to implement the public inquiry's recommendations, and guaranteeing a transparent consultation on pending legislation with the involvement of international media experts and civil society," they said. 

The statement was endorsed by Article 19 Europe, the Association of European Journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, the European Federation of Journalists, IFEX, the Index on Censorship, the International Federation of Journalists, the International Press Institute, OBC Transeuropa, PEN International, Reporters Without Borders and Transparency International EU.

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