A long road to justice

More than three years after the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s press freedom climate remained cause for serious concern. The muder case finally progressed in February 2021 with the long overdue arrest of four men in connection with the assassination, while the case against the alleged mastermind remained stalled in court procedures. The public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s assassination helped to reveal political interference, police cover-up and collusion with criminals. The efforts of newly installed Prime Minister Robert Abela to shut down the public inquiry before it had fulfilled its obligations were stalled by the Judges on the Board of Inquiry. More than 20 defamation lawsuits against Caruana Galizia continued posthumously, including suits brought by former politicians in government such as Joseph Muscat, who was forced to resign as Prime Minister in January 2020 after public protests brought the country to a standstill. Similar cases - which are examples of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) - were also used to pressure Daphne’s son Matthew Caruana Galizia and other journalists in Malta. A political system that continues to muzzle press freedom, discrimination in accessing information, and an inefficient judicial process has continued to present obstacles to public interest reporting as well as threats to journalists’ ability to do their job safely. Malta’s media climate remained deeply divided, and media ownership was dominated by the two major political parties, further stifling public debate in an environment where propaganda dominates the news. The situation was further compromised through the opaque and inequitable allocation of state funds to select independent media during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index



81 in 2020

Global score


30.16 in 2020

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
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