Press Release 15/2011
Date: 16 June 2011

The Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM) welcomed the landmark judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which found that The Times of Malta’s right to freedom of expression was violated when the Maltese courts found it guilty of defamation after dismissing the evidence of a key witness.

A lawyer had institute libel proceedings against the paper’s editor and publisher after it had reported that the lawyer had been found guilty of contempt of court during the hearing of a bigamy case way back in 1995.

The Institute hailed the decision by the Council of Europe (COE)’s highest court as not only a victory for The Times of Malta but also for local journalism.

“It is a victory for all those who have freedom of expression at heart and for those who, like the IGM, have fought and will continue to fight for the protection of freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), of which Malta is a signatory,” the IGM insisted in its statement.

Freedom of expression was also guaranteed by Article 41 of Malta’s Constitution.

The IGM congratulated former Times of Malta Editor Victor Aquilina and his staff for this victory at the ECHR.

Aquilina was a recipient of the Gold Award, given during the IGM’s annual Malta Journalism Awards. The Gold Award is given to journalists who act above and beyond their call of duty.