In general, civic space freedoms are generally respected in Malta. However, reports indicate that conditions for journalists have become increasingly hostile, especially those reporting on corruption. As a consequence, Malta has fallen 30 places over the past two years according to Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index.
In 2017, prominent investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb. Two years after the assassination, civil society organisations stated that authorities have failed to take the necessary steps to ensure justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia.
CSOs also raised alarm about the continued harassment against Galizia’s family and activists who campaign for justice in the case. For example, at least 30 civil defamation lawsuits continue against Galizia’s family, which is perceived as intimidation.
Although freedom of association is generally respected, some cases of harassment, especially against anti-corruption activists have been documented. For example, a recent investigation by The Shift News documented coordinated attacks against anti-corruption activists and Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family, including calls for sexual violence by members of pro-Muscat Facebook groups.