More than a hundred journalists and academics have written to the prime minister asking him to publish for consultation advice he had received on improving and protecting independent journalism, before such proposals are moved in parliament.
They said that they were concerned that five years after the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the government had not held a public consultation on its proposals to strengthen journalism and freedom of expression.
While they appreciated the prime minister's public declarations that he intended to implement the recommendations of the inquiry into the Caruana Galizia murder, including a call to protect journalism, they were disappointed that offers of technical and legal assistance had been refused, the open letter says.
Although a committee of experts that included journalists had been appointed, its recommendations had not been published, despite an earlier promise that they would be.
"We are informed that the government is at an advanced stage of preparing legal reforms on this subject. This is good. However, it is wrong that the government has not invited free and open dialogue about what these reforms should include. We cannot understand how freedom of expression can be safeguarded by laws that are drafted in secret. Furthermore, without the active participation of members of the profession and, more importantly, of the public, the reforms will be drafted covertly and will not reflect the needs of society and, therefore, they cannot succeed," the open letter warns.
The prime minister was therefore asked to immediately publish the advice he had already received from the government-appointed experts, before any proposals were moved in parliament.
The letter was also signed by legal experts, civil society activists and others involved in theatre and the arts.
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