The government said on Wednesday it joined five international institutions in stressing the need that justice is served in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Ms Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb a year ago on October 16, 2017.

In a statement, the government said it reiterated its full support towards local and international investigators conducting a thorough and serious investigation, so much so, that in less than 50 days three Maltese citizens were arraigned and charged with the murder.

The government said it also agreed with PEN International, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and the European Federation of Journalists that the free press was crucial and a sine qua non in a democracy and it was fully committed to keep strengthening freedom of expression in Malta.

This, it said, was evidenced with the recent promulgation of the new Media and Defamation Act, one of the most progressive legislation in Europe and outside the continent as it did not only strike off criminal libel in whatever form from the law books, but also implemented a wide array of reforms which increased journalistic freedoms.

“In the past six years, during the first and its current second legislature, the government has embarked on a wide range of reforms which strengthened the rule of law and bolstered democracy with the introduction of new legislation which brought Malta at par with European best practices in many areas of governance.

“Therefore, it looks forward to implement further reforms as might be suggested by the Venice Commission from whom the government itself has requested a legal review,” it said.

It added that it remained committed to engage with all bona fide international institutions and foster a deep dialogue, ultimately for the benefit of democracy, civil freedoms and the rule of law.