PEN International, Article 19, Reporters without Borders, the International Press Institute and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom have updated their report to the United Nations on free speech in Malta ahead of a UN review due in November.

“Since 2013, the climate for freedom of expression has deteriorated significantly in Malta, in particular in the lead up to and aftermath of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The threats and violence Ms Caruana Galizia was subjected to in the course of her life and lead up to her assassination were tolerated with impunity by the Maltese authorities. The NGOs are firmly of the opinion that this impunity laid the way to her brutal assassination which was in direct response to her journalistic activities in exposing corruption at the highest levels of the Maltese authorities. The tolerance of the authorities for this violence, and ultimately the assassination with impunity of such an important freedom of expression figure demonstrates key violations of freedom of expression in Malta since the last review and has profound implications for the right to freedom of expression of Malta as a whole.”

The organisations recommend that the government of Malta establish without delay a public inquiry into the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia to probe whether her death could have been prevented and to learn lessons for the future.

The international NGOs also criticised attacks from public figures publicly denigrating the legacy of Daphne Caruana Galizia, “contributing to a climate of increasing hostility towards independent media”.

The full updated briefing document can be downloaded here.