The following is a summary of the recommendations that followed the conclusions of the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry published a year ago. The left column quotes extracts from the English translation of the recommendations prepared and published by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation.

The traffic light symbol in the middle categorises the state of implementation of the proposal: green for fully implemented, amber for partly implemented, red for not implemented. Almost all recommendations are in a red state, none are green. The column on the right gives brief stock of what has happened since the recommendation was published. This is not an analytical chart, nor a complete commentary. It is a high level summary to put things in context for further discussion.

The original version of the inquiry is available here.

1. The Police … should continue with their investigations to identify all the persons who are involved in the assassination in some way and ensure that they all answer for their deeds before the Courts.



The inquiry report was published after charges were filed against the tal-Maksar brothers and Jamie Vella. No further charges have been issued since then. At the time of the tal-Maksar’s arrest, police chief Angelo Gafà said that “every person involved, be it mastermind or accomplice, is under arrest or facing charges.” That appeared to suggest the investigations had been shelved. However, last February, prosecutor Philip Galea Farrugia told a court, “it is probable that are other persons were involved in the murder (of Daphne).” It is not clear if this meant the police were still looking for them.


2. The Board takes ownership of the recommendations made by the Venice Commission, the Greco Commission and the legal affairs committee of the European Parliament to strengthen good governance.



Very few recommendations made by these agencies have been implemented and almost all of those that were twisted the intention of the recommendations made. Recommendations on reforming the office of the President, strengthening Parliament, ensuring judicial independence in administrative tribunals, and undertaking a public process of constitutional reform, remain ignored. Only 2 of 23 recommendations made by GRECO have been implemented. In May 2022 the European Parliament’s LIBE committee remained just as concerned as it ever was about justice for Daphne, the protection of journalists, and the workings of Malta’s judicial system. These agencies were recently joined by the OSCE that expressed serious concern about conditions for journalists.


3. Amendments in criminal law should be introduced … whoever breaks the law should suffer the consequences of their deeds, they should not have the expectation that with money they could remedy that which by law they did not have a right to it. It is this mentality prevalent in society which strengthens the arrogance of whoever has political and economic power. It is the seed which sows corruption.



With or without amendments to the law impunity continues to rule. No charges have been issued on the back of evidence that emerged in the Panama Papers and in Daphne’s investigations. Inquiries into the hospitals’ privatisation, the Electrogas deal, the Montenegro windfarm, 17 Black, and others continue without any discernible police activity. The Pilatus Bank inquiry yielded charges against the bank and a middle manager but the prosecutions appear botched. Orders to charge the bank’s owner and directors were ignored by the police. FIAU decisions are systemically appealed and reversed by the courts and administrative penalties are left without a defensible legal basis.


4. Administrative practices which regulate properly and effectively the relationships which may be forged between the public administration and businesspeople with whom the State entities necessarily need to deal in order to create wealth.



The government has effectively boycotted efforts by the Commissioner for Standards to introduce new rules. Just this month Robert Abela’s staff defended a meeting the prime minister held with Charles iċ-Ċaqnu Polidano days after Polidano was arrested over suspected money laundering and corruption. There are no transparency rules or registers for these meetings and the public becomes aware of them when journalists discover them.


5. The Board points out the consolidation of the Whistle Blower law, the Party financing law, the laws governing the award of contracts including tenders and direct orders.



Amendments to the protection of whistle-blowers law implemented most of the most recent EU directive on the subject but failed to address the reason why the law never worked in practice: the government retains discretion on whether to grant protection to people that might testify against it. There has been no discussion on reforming party financing laws, and no proposals were made on revising public procurement rules.



Secret negotiations between the public administrator and people in business … is to be prohibited. It is also essential that lobbying, especially when this involved contracts with investors and businessmen to promote initiative and projects should also be governed by law.


Same as point 4 above.



A law is required to fight financial crime including bribery and corruption by means of “Unexplained Wealth Orders”.


The government proposed, then withdrew an UWO law without any explanation.

A specific crime is introduced when a person holding a public position hinders or attempts to hinder the Police or other authorities.


The government voted against a private member’s bill brought by then shadow minister Jason Azzopardi on this subject.

The necessity to introduce a crime similar to Article 416 bis of the Italian Criminal Code that deals with the crime of “a mafia-style association”.


As 8 above. Prime Minister Robert Abela mocked the idea saying only people who wanted Malta to be called a Mafia State wanted anti-mafia laws.

A new crime of “Abuse of Office” which is committed by a public official or a person in charge of a public service.


As 8 above.

The Attorney General law ought to be revised in order to fully implement the recommendations of the Venice Commission in regard to the full control of the investigation of serious crimes together with the Police as well as to initiate an investigation directly.


The idea has not been discussed, let alone implemented. Meanwhile, through a series of “mistakes”, Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg has continued the polices of her predecessor Peter Grech suppressing or diverting investigations with the potential of reaching people who have or had political power.

Introduce the crime of obstruction of justice in criminal law.


As 8 above.

Safeguard against improper conduct of public officials in the execution of their duties.


As 8 above.

A formal (Police) structure to identify which persons, and not just journalists, would be exposed to serious attacks of all kinds and for any reason which may escalate to physical violence. This assessment should not be, as it is still to date, reserved for the Commissioner of Police.


This structure appears to have been set up and procedures have been introduced in the Police force to relieve the Commissioner of sole discretion in these matters. There is no known external oversight of the process, so it is very hard to judge whether the intentions of the inquiry are being met by the actions that have been taken.

Investigate serious allegations which are being made as a result of the journalists’ investigations.


See point 3 above. There is no discernible improvement in this matter since the inquiry report was published.

It is necessary that the Corps is well aware of the role of the journalist as a guardian of democracy in the country and of the value of journalism as a valid collaborator with the law enforcement authorities to ensure the rule of law.


The Police has identified an officer to act as liaison with the journalists’ association. However, Police chief Angelo Gafà avoids any communication with the press and there is known structured engagement between journalists and his department.

The Police Corps … need to be well trained not only in the value of journalism but also in the knowledge of the technique used by the journalists in their investigations, the methods used to obtain results and which give value to the conclusions they reach from the analysis they conduct.


There is no information that this recommendation has been implemented in any way.

It should be considered whether there are grounds to amend the Constitution in order that in the articles concerning freedom of expression, free journalism is recognised as one of the pillars of a democratic society and that the State has the obligation to guarantee it and protect it. An amendment which should also recognise an individual’s right to receive the information from the State and public administration, and that the State and the public authorities are obliged to provide such information.


See point 8 above. There has been no public discussion with the involvement of the government on formal ways of recognising the public’s right to information and the role of journalism in a democracy.

An independent Office of the Ombudsman or a Commissioner for Journalistic Ethics should be set up on the same lines as the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life. This authority would be fully autonomous and impartial and would have the function to implement laws and regulations intended to protect media freedom, the safety of journalists and the right to information.


There has been no discussion or no discernible initiative to implement this measure.

There are grounds for revision of the provision of the Constitution which establishes the Broadcasting Authority.


Except that the need for such reforms has since also been underlined by the OSCE, there has been no action in this regard.

It is necessary that the Freedom of Information Act (Chapter 496) is revised so that the instances where public administration may arbitrarily refuse to provide information which is of public interest and to which the public has a right should be limited.


No action has been taken in this regard.
22. The necessity to address the problem of the possibility of the so-called SLAPP libel suits.



The government published in January 2022 that partially address this issue but the matter has not been placed on this Parliament’s agenda. The subject is believed to have been addressed by a government-appointed committee of experts but Prime Minister Robert Abela has ignored his own commitment to publish their recommendations.



Eliminate the possibility of frivolous libel suits against journalists initiated by individuals who occupy public positions and who have the duty to defend the right to freedom of expression.


The subject is believed to have been addressed by a government-appointed committee of experts but Prime Minister Robert Abela has ignored his own commitment to publish their recommendations.
24. Libel suits are terminated on the death of the prosecuted journalist.  

The government published in January 2022 that partially address this issue but the matter has not been placed on this Parliament’s agenda. The subject is believed to have been addressed by a government-appointed committee of experts but Prime Minister Robert Abela has ignored his own commitment to publish their recommendations.



Where public funds are involved, the distribution of funds spent on advertising would be fair, equal and non-discriminatory.


As point 23 above.

A law to regulate the Journalists’ profession.


As point 23 above.

The State profoundly examines the state of journalism and the exercise of the fundamental right to freedom of expression… This exercise may be entrusted to a committee of experts comprising academics, experts in media law, journalists and Media House owners … under the auspices of His Excellency the President of Malta even as a part of the extension of the Presidency’s project for Constitutional reform and to ensure good governance and the rule of law.


A committee of experts was indeed set up 7 months after the inquiry was concluded. Prime Minister Robert Abela has ignored his own commitment to publish their recommendations. The “Presidency’s project for Constitutional reform” appears to be dead.
28. The State … formally and publicly acknowledges the serious failings in the public administration which surrounded the assassination of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.



The President of Malta has, after the publication of the inquiry report, paid his respects to Daphne Caruana Galizia with a brief visit to the site of her murder. Prime Minister Robert Abela has held a number of private meetings with Daphne’s family. There has been no formal and public acknowledgement of any failings in public administration. On the contrary the government has launched a PR effort to reverse any impression of tacit acceptance of responsibility for any failures. A recent intervention by Labour MP Cressida Galea claimed that Malta’s grey listing by the FATF was not caused by any administrative failure by Labour.


29. The Government should consider taking all the appropriate and opportune steps to ensure that the State reconciles with the assassinated journalist’s family.



Only Daphne’s family can judge whether this recommendation has been appropriately implemented. If there can be an objective measure of this recommendation that would be for the State to ensure justice on all those who participated in the plot to murder Daphne Caruana Galizia and its execution. So far the only person to have been convicted of the crime was granted a reduced prison sentence after pleading guilty. Otherwise,the case remains open and justice not served.