MEP Roberta Metsola speaks out in favour of press freedom
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Roberta Metsola the MEP for Malta and Gozo, has spoken up in the European Parliament in favour of press freedom, where she reiterated the PN delegation call for European Anti-SLAPP legislation to protect Maltese media houses.
Dr Metsola was addressing the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, where she is Coordinator for the EPP Group.
“Without an unshackled media, we would only have the illusion of a proper democracy, a mockery of how the rule of law should function,” she said.
Her comments come as the European Parliament report on the deterioration of the rule of law in Malta is published.
Apart from calling for Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi to be brought to justice, the report also states that “media pluralism and independence is crucial in Malta for the rule of law to be guaranteed.”
Dr Metsola, commenting on the damming rule of law report said that “it is sad and shameful that Joseph Muscat has brought all this on us all,” underlining the fact that that “we will keep fighting to show that the actions of the corrupt few do not represent the people of Malta, and we will keep pushing to strengthen the rule of law.
The European Parliament is currently debating a report on media pluralism and media freedom in the European Union.
Dr Metsola noted the threats and the harassment that members of the press face on a daily basis, calling this “unacceptable.”
She also stressed the importance of European Anti-SLAPP legislation that will protect media houses from intimidation by lawsuits overseas, as has been the case with a number of media houses in Malta who have reported on the activities of Pilatus Bank and Henley & Partners.
“Media freedom is a cornerstone of our European societies. More than a fundamental right, we must see it as a fundamental rule of the way we are governed and a pillar of the rule of law,” said the MEP.
She added, “it is the press that keeps us politicians in check, who continue to seek the truth even when lies are easier digested.”
Dr Metsola went on to pay tribute to Daphne Caruana Galizia who was assassinated in October last year, emphasising her determination to find the truth.
“Pluralism is inseparable from freedom, democracy and the rule of law”, Dr Metsola concluded.
The report on media pluralism and media freedom will be voted upon in the coming months.