Comments by the spokesman of the Office of the Prime Minister to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) about the protection, safety and empowerment of journalists were at best, deliberately vague and misleading, the Daphne Foundation said on Monday.

It observed that Edward Montebello had been asked what Malta’s government has done about the European Commission's Recommendation on the protection, safety and empowerment of journalists, which was launched on  September 16, 2021.

He had replied that Malta has “applied and is applying the measures enlisted by the European Commission" and that it is “determined to adopt legal changes”.  

Yet, the foundation said, the government had not effectively applied any of the measures enlisted by the European Commission almost six years after Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and more than two years after the publication of the report of the public inquiry into her murder.

It said the government was determined to ignore half the recommendations of the public inquiry. When appointing the 'Committee of Experts on Media', the government’s terms of reference given to the committee excluded all of the public inquiry’s recommendations concerning the rule of law, unexplained wealth, and organised crime. When the Opposition proposed legislation in parliament to address all of the recommendations of the public inquiry, the MPs on the government side voted against it.

Furthermore, the government was hiding from public view the "legal changes" it claimed to be "determined to adopt", including from the very people those changes were meant to protect from harm.

"The Malta Government has not yet redressed the conditions that enabled Daphne Caruana Galizia's assassination on 16 October 2017," the foundation said. "Journalists in Malta are still obliged to work in an environment which made the murder of a journalist possible.


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