Over 250 influential writers and publishers including Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Anne Enright, Ian McEwan, Kamila Shamsie, Neil Gaiman, Eva Bonnier, Elif Shafak and Colm Tóibín are calling on the European Commission to ensure justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia, and for the protection of journalists and whistleblowers in Malta.

In particular, the letter raises profound concerns regarding allegations of shameful behavior of the management of Valletta 2018, the European Capital of Culture, in relation to her case. This programme is overseen by the European Commission’s Creative Europe.

The Shame of Valletta 2018, European Capital of Culture

Dear President Juncker,

Dear Commissioner Timmermans,

Dear Mr Magnier, Director of Creative Europe,

CC/ Commissioner Vella,

We write to you on the six-month anniversary of the brutal assassination of our colleague, Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s foremost investigative journalist, to express our profound concern with developments in Malta in the context of the investigation into her assassination, and in particular regarding the behaviour of the management of Valletta 2018, the European Capital of Culture.

The assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia was ordered in direct response to her journalistic work in exposing rampant government corruption at the heart of the EU. Since her death, we have witnessed with horror the repeated and aggressive destruction of the memorial to Daphne Caruana Galizia in Valletta, which was created in response to this horrific event. The Maltese authorities have not attempted to protect this memorial. In particular, we are outraged by the comments of Jason Micallef, Chairman of the Valletta 2018 Foundation, and as such the Capital of Culture’s official representative in Malta. Since her assassination, Micallef has repeatedly and publicly attacked and ridiculed Daphne Caruana Galizia on social media, ordered the removal of banners calling for justice for her death and called for her temporary memorial to be cleared. This is far from appropriate behaviour for an official designated to represent the European Capital of Culture, and in fact serves to further the interests of those trying to prevent an effective and impartial investigation into Caruana Galizia’s death.

Creative Europe’s mandate is the support and promotion of culture and media in the region. European  culture includes the freedom to criticise, satirise and investigate those in power. The role of the Chairman of the European Capital of Culture should be to safeguard this right, not to threaten it. We believe this behaviour completely demeans the role and has profound implications for the integrity of the programme as a whole. There can be no tolerance for the ridiculing of the assassination of a journalist in the heart of the EU, especially from the very authorities entrusted to promote the EU’s media and culture. We therefore urge you to immediately investigate these allegations against Jason Micallef. If found to be true, we urge you to call for his resignation and for the appointment of a qualified individual who demonstrates the requisite integrity for this role.

Further to these specific concerns relating to Valletta 2018, we wish to restate our broader fears relating to the ongoing investigation by the Maltese Authorities into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, which we believe does not meet the standards of independence, impartiality and effectiveness required under international human rights law. The very same individuals Caruana Galizia was investigating remain in charge of securing justice in her case, despite a judicial challenge in Malta’s constitutional court from her family, who has now been completely shut out of the assassination investigation. We therefore welcome the initiative of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, which is taking the extraordinary step of sending a special rapporteur to scrutinise the investigation.

It is also of enormous concern to us that, even after her assassination, senior government officials, including the Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, are insisting on trying thirty-four libel cases against her, which have now been assumed by her family. In addition to these cases, the Prime Minister is taking a further libel case against Caruana Galizia’s son, Matthew, himself a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist. We have reason to believe that these proceedings are in direct reprisal for his mother’s work in investigating corruption within the current Maltese government. The Prime Minister is currently compelling Matthew to return to Malta to stand trial, despite independent security experts advising Matthew to remain outside Malta due to substantial threats to his life there.

Whistle-blower Maria Efimova was one of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s sources on corruption within the disgraced Malta-based Pilatus Bank. The Maltese authorities filed a European Arrest Warrant for Efimova after she was forced to flee to Greece with her family. On 12 April, a Greek court refused Malta’s request to extradite Efimova on the grounds that the charges brought by the Maltese authorities against her are “vague”. We welcome this highly unusual decision, one of the first of its kind within the EU. Despite this, the Maltese authorities have not dropped the charges against Efimova. We believe the charges against Efimova to be purely political and are deeply concerned about both her safety and the independence of the legal process she would face should she return to Malta.

We urge you to take a stand in support of calls for justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia and for the protection of journalists and whistleblowers in Malta.

We look forward to your response outlining the steps you will now take relating to our concerns.


Jennifer Clement, President, PEN International
John Ralston Saul, PEN International President Emeritus
Per Wästberg, PEN International President Emeritus
Homero Aridjis, PEN President Emeritus, Former Ambassador of Mexico to UNESCO
Sir Ronald Harwood, PEN International President Emeritus
Georges Emmanuel Clancier, PEN International Vice-Président Emeritus
Ahmet Şık, UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
Alexander Matthews, PEN South Africa
Alexander McCall Smith, PEN Writers Cirlce member
Alexandra Jamieson Barreiro, Comisión Directiva PEN Argentina
Alice Schwarzer
Alicja Gescinska, Belgium
Anders Heger, PEN International, PEN Norway
Anders Jerichow, Former President of Danish PEN
Andréas Becker, Président du Comité des Écrivains Persécutés, PEN-Club Français
Andrei Kurkov, PEN Ukraine
Andrey Novikov-Lanskoy, PEN Russia
Anne Devlin, PEN International UK/Ireland
Anne Enright, Ireland
Annelies Verbeke, Belgium
Antonio Della Rocca, PEN International, PEN Trieste
Armida Zepeda, PEN San Miguel de Allende
Arnaud Nourry, Hachette Livre, PEN Publishers Circle member
Arthur Golden, PEN Writers Circle member
Arthur Goldstuck, PEN South Africa
Asieh Amini, PEN Norway
Aslı Erdoğan, Turkey
Bart Moeyaert, Belgium
Bashabi Fraser, Trustee, Scottish PEN
Biyú Suárez C., PEN Bolivia
Boris Evseev, PEN Russia
Brit Bildøen, PEN Norway
Bruce Cooper, PEN South Africa
Burhan Sönmez, PEN Inernational, PEN Turkey
Burkhard P. Bierschenck, German Speaking Writers Abroad PEN
Can Dündar, Former Editor-in-chief, Cumhuriyet, Turkey
Carl Morten Iversen, PEN Norway
Carles Torner, Executive Director, PEN International
Carlo Gebler, Northern Ireland
Carme Arenas, President of PEN Català
Carole Bloch, PEN South Africa
Carolin Emcke
Caroline Criado Perez Brazil/UK
Caroline Graham, Ireland
Catherine Dunne, Ireland
Celia De Fréine, Ireland
Chloe Aridjis, UK/Mexico
Christa Schuenke, PEN Germany
Christine McKenzie, PEN Melbourne
Ciro Añez, President of PEN Santa Cruz
Claire Kilroy, Ireland
Colm Tóibín, Ireland
Colum McCann, Ireland
Connie Bork, Danish PEN
Daniel Batliner, PEN Liechtenstein
Darren Darker, Irish PEN
Darron Araujo, PEN South Africa
David Lagercrantz, PEN Writers Circle member
David Manderson, Scottish PEN
David Van Reybrouck, PEN Belgium/Dutch Speaking
Dawn Garisch, PEN South Africa
DBC Pierre, UK/Ireland
Declan Meade, Ireland
Dermot Bolger, Ireland
Dina Meza, Presidenta, PEN Honduras
Dr Frankie Asare-Donkoh, President of Ghanaian PEN
Dr Ma Thida, President Emerita of PEN Myanmar, PEN International
Dr. Sascha Feuchert, PEN Germany
E.R.Murray, Ireland
Ebony Riddell-Bamber, PEN International
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Irish PEN
Ekaterina Turchaninova, PEN Russia
Elena Chizhova, Director, PEN Saint-Petersburg
Elif Shafak, English PEN, Turkey
Elisabeth Åsbrink, President of Swedish PEN
Elisabeth Eide, PEN Norway
Elisabeth Nordgren, PEN International
Elsa Cross
Emi Kasamatsu, PEN Paraguay
Émile Martel, President Emeritus, Centre Québécois du PEN International
Emmanuel Pierrat, Président of French PEN
Eric Lax, PEN International
Erik Vlaminck, President of PEN Belgium/Dutch Speaking
Erwin Mortier, Belgium
Eugene Schoulgin, PEN International, PEN Norway
Eva Bonnier, Albert Bonniers Förlag, PEN Publishers Circle Member
Evelyn Conlon, Ireland
Evgeny Popov, President of PEN Russia
Farhad Khoyratty, PEN South Africa
Félix Villeneuve, Quebec PEN
Fiona Graham, Scottish PEN
Folu Agoi, President of PEN Nigeria
Frank Geary, Irish PEN
Frank McGuinness, Ireland
Franziska Sperr, PEN Germany
Gabriel Súnico, PEN Argentina
Gaston Bellemare, PEN Québec
Geert Mak, PEN Writers Circle Member
Gemma Rodríguez, PEN Català
Gert Heidenreich, President Emeritus, PEN Germany
Gioconda Belli, President of PEN Nicaragua
Grainne Tobin, Ireland
Gustavo Adolfo Bracamonte, Presidente of PEN Guatemala
Gustavo Bedrossian, PEN Argentina
Gustavo Bracamonte, PEN Guatemala
Hanan Al Shaykh, PEN Writers Circle Member
Hanan Awwad, President of Palestine PEN
Harald Kollegger, PEN Austria
Hege Newth, PEN Norway
Heinrich Peuckmann, PEN Germany
Helen Caldwell, New Zealand
Helmuth A. Niederle, President of PEN Austria
Henrietta McKervey, Ireland
Herbert Wiesner, German PEN
Horácio Costa, Brazil
Ian McEwan, UK
Ian Rankin, PEN Writers Circle Member
Ifigenija Simonović, Slovene PEN Centre
Ilija Trojanow, PEN Germany
Iman Humaydan, PEN International, PEN Lebanon
Ingeborg Kværne, PEN Norway
Ingeborg Senneset, PEN Norway
Ingrid de Kok, PEN South Africa
Isabelle Rossaert, Vice-President, PEN Belgium/Flanders
Iván Prado, Presidente, PEN Bolivia
J. Anthony Gaughan, President, Irish PEN
Jack Harte, Ireland
Jacques Rousseau, PEN South Africa
Jan Fabre, Antwerp
Jan Tore Noreng
Jane Onstott, PEN San Miguel de Allende
Jarkko Tontti, International Treasurer, PEN International, PEN Finland
Jen Thorpe, PEN South Africa
Jenni Calder, Scottish PEN
Jennifer Barrett, Ireland
Jennifer Egan, President of PEN America
Jens Lohmann, Danish PEN
Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, PEN International Vice-President
Johanne Fronth-Nygren, PEN Norway
Johano Strasser, President Emeritus, PEN Germany
Joke van Leeuwen, President Emeritus, PEN Belgium Flanders
Jorge Ragal, Presidente of PEN Chile
José Antonio Albertini, Presidente of PEN Cuba Writers in Exile
José Gabriel Seisdedos, PEN Argentina
Josef Haslinger, Presidnet Emeritus, PEN Germany
Joseph O’Connor, Ireland
Judyth Hill, President of San Miguel PEN
June Considine, Irish PEN
Jürgen Jankofsky, PEN Germany
Justin Fox, PEN South Africa
Kamila Shamsie, UK
Karen Jennings, South Africa
Kate Ennals, Ireland
Katie Donovan, Ireland
Katja Behrens, PEN Germany
Kätlin Kaldmaa, International Secretary, PEN International, PEN Estonia
Kerrie O’Brien, Ireland
Khadija Ismayilova, UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, PEN Norway
Kjersti Løken Stavrum, PEN Norway
Koen Peeters, Belgium
Kristien Hemmerechts, Belgium
Kristina Quintano, PEN Norway
Lady Joyce Caplan, Scottish PEN
Larissa Avelar, Norway
Laura Waddell, Scottish PEN
Laurens Hueting, PEN International
Lesley Marshall, PEN New Zealand
Lia Mills, Irish PEN
Lieve Joris, Amsterdam
Lina Morselli, PEN Trieste
Lisa Appignanesi, President Emerita, English PEN
Liz McManus, PEN Irish Writers Centre Board
Louise Phillips, Ireland
Lucina Kathmann, PEN International, PEN San Miguel
Luis de la Paz, PEN Cuba Writers in Exile
Luís González Tosar, President of PEN Galicia
Luisa Valenzuela, President of PEN Argentina
Manu Herbstein, PEN South Africa
Marc Reugebrink, Belgium
Marcus Low, PEN South Africa
Margaret Atwood, PEN Writers Circle Member
Margie Orford, PEN International, PEN South Africa
Mari Moen Holsve, PEN Norway
Maria MacManus, Ireland
Marianne Østergaard, Danish PEN,
Mario Relich, Secretary, Scottish PEN
Marita Conlon-McKenna, Ireland
Marjan Strojan, PEN International
Markéta Hejkalová, Czech PEN
Martha C Neira, USA
Martin Roper, Republic of Ireland
Martina Devlin, Ireland
Mary Costello, Ireland
Masha Gessen, PEN America
Mathias Ospelt, President of PEN Liechtenstein
Matilde L. Álvarez, PEN Cuba Writers in Exile
Maureen Freely, English PEN
Maureen Isaacson, PEN South Africa
Menna Elfyn, President of Wales PEN Cymru
Mette Newth, PEN Norway
Mia Gallagher, Ireland
Michael Krüger
Michael Morris, PEN South Africa
Michael Schmidt, PEN South Africa
Miguel Gaya, PEN Argentina
Mike Nicol, PEN South Africa
Milagros Socorro, PEN Venezuela
Mille Rode, Danish PEN
Mohammed Sheriff, PEN International, PEN Sierra Leone
Molly Crabapple, US
Mykola Riabchuk, President of PEN Ukraine
Nadezda Azhgikhina, Free Word Association Board Member, Russia
Nayantara Sahgal, India
Neil Gaiman, UK/US
Nguyên Hoàng Bao Viêt, Centre PEN Suisse Romand
Nick Mulgrew, PEN South Africa
Nicky Falkof, PEN South Africa
Nik Williams, Scottish PEN
Nina George, German PEN
Nora Bossong, PEN Germany
Øivind Hånes, PEN Norway
Padraig Hanratty, Irish PEN
Patrick Tudoret, French PEN
Paul Muldoon, PEN America
Paula McGrath, Ireland
Paula Meehan, Ireland
Per Øhrgaard, President of Danish PEN
Peter Terrin, Belgium
Peter Verhelst, Belgium
Petra Morsbach
Philippe Sands, QC, President of English PEN
Polina Kovaleva, PEN America
Prof Peter Greste, former correspondent and UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communications,
University of Queensland
Prof. Dr. Carlos Collado Seidel, German PEN
Raffaella Salierno, PEN Català
Ragnhild Aasland Sekne, PEN Norway
Raymond Louw, PEN South Africa
Regula Venske, PEN International, PEN Germany
Romana Cacchioli, PEN International
Romy Sommer, PEN South Africa
Rosemund Handler, South Africa
Roswitha Quadflieg
Sahar Halaimzai, PEN International
Salil Tripathi, PEN International
Salman Rushdie, PEN Writers Circle Member
Sandra Cisneros, USA/México
Sarah Clarke, PEN International
Sean Hardie, Ireland
Sharon Steeber, PEN San Miguel de Allende
Sigrid Bousset, PEN Belgium/ Dutch speaking
Simona Škrabec, PEN International
Sjón, President of Icelandic PEN
Sofi Oksanen, PEN Writers Circle Member
Stefan Hertmans, Brussels
Summer Lopez, PEN America
Sylvestre Clancier, PEN International, French PEN
Tanja Kinkel, German PEN
Teresa Salema Cadete, President of PEN Portugal
Tereza Semotamová, Czech PEN
Theo Dorgan, Ireland
Tilman Spengler
Tom Lanoye, Belgium
Tom Sigafoos, Ireland
Uffe Gardel, Danish PEN
Ulla Hahn
Ulrich Schreiber
Ursula Krechel, German PEN
Valerie Bistany, Irish PEN
Vanessa O’Loughlin, Irish PEN
Venla Hiidensalo, President of Finnish PEN
Virgilio Tedín, PEN Argentina
Vonne van der Meer, President of PEN Netherlands
William Nygaard, President of PEN Norway
William Wall, Ireland
Yann Martel, PEN Writers Circle Member
Yewande Omotoso, PEN South Africa
Zakes Mda, PEN South Africa