In yet another attack on democracy, the regulator of NGOs, wrote to Repubblika accusing the NGO of working for private interests, over-spending and acting as a propagandist for a political party.
He included as evidence articles written by committee members of Repubblika and the fact that Repubblika made submissions to the inquiry investigating the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia. These, Commissioner Anthony Abela Medici said, showed that Repubblika should be struck off from the register of NGOs.
Such a move would make it illegal for Repubblika to raise funds.
In its reponse Repubblika told Commissioner Anthony Abela Medici that his letter was a blatant attempt at silencing Repubblika. “You single us out because we dare to raise our voice against the manner in which the country is being governed. This is not merely our right. It is our duty as a civil society organisation.”
“In this context,” the NGO told the government, “you will be met with the strongest possible resistance on our part against any action you take if you attempt to take this matter further.”
Repubblika said that “it is a function of democratic life for civil society organisations to call out wrongdoing in government conduct and to do so freely. Any law that is written or applied with the purpose of or used to suppress that function is unconstitutional and in breach of the fundamental human rights of anyone who functions within and through such organisations.”
“Taking your attitude to its logical, though entirely perverse conclusion,” Repubblika charged, “your next step would be to suppress environmental NGOs, organisations that speak and defend the rights of minorities and any other group who, for whatever reason, expresses a view that is consistent with the views expressed by the Parliamentary opposition or contrary to those of the government. Characterising this as preposterous in the extreme is to put it mildly.”
Repubblika told that since Anthony Abela Medici’s position is unfounded at law, and it “is therefore anti-democratic, abusive and unacceptable.”
Last year Anthony Abela Medici accepted to sit on the inquiry board investigating the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia but along with Ian Refalo he was replaced after public outrage.
The letter by the Commissioner and Repubblika’s response are shown here.
Letter from Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations including attachments:
Response by Repubblika: