29th November 2019
The Insitute of Maltese Journalists condemns the situation that materialised at the Office of the Prime Minister in the early hours of the morning of Friday, 29 November where a number of local and foreign journalists were kept against their will in a hall at the Office of the Prime Minister, after attending a press conference the Office organised at 3.00 a.m.
The press was summoned to the Office of the Prim Minister for a press conference after a six-hour long Cabinet meeting which discussed a request for a Presidential Pardon by a businessman who is being investigated in connection with the murder, two years ago, of fellow journalista Daphne Caruana Galizia.
After a chort declaration by Prim Minister Joseph Muscat who informed the meda that Cabinet had decided against recomending the Pardon to the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister allowed only a couple of questions and left the room in spite of the fact that a number of the journalists present had other questions to put to him.
At this point, a number of unidentified persons, who are not secutiry people or employees of the Office of the Prime Minister, obstructed the exit doors of the conference hall so that the journalists could not leave the room to return to their offices in these early hours of the day. This unlawful behaviour at the Office of the Prime Minister lasted a considerable time – amidst protest by the local and foreing press present – untill the Prime Minister and Ministers had distanced themselves from the building so that the journalists could not reach them to ask questions.
The Institute of Maltese Journalists strongly protest with the Office of the Prime Minister about this illegal and undemocratic behaviour and asked for assurance that such abuse will not repeat itself.
The Institute extended its full solidarity with the journalists subjected to this abuse and condemned all intimidation against journalists in the discharge of thier duties and asked that journalists be allowed to carry out their duties without hindrance and intimidation.
In the meantime the Institute joined a number of individual journalists who were subjected to this abuse and sent a Judicial Protest to the Prime Minister and asked the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life to pronounce itself on these facts. IĠM’s efforts are endorsed by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).