New PN candidate Emma Portelli Bonnici has been entrusted by her party to oversee an outreach process aimed at discovering how to implement the several recommendations issued by the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry board, as well as other potential proposals.
Opposition leader Bernard Grech announced today that Portelli Bonnici will lead a team of people tasked with meeting social partners and other stakeholders and consequently drafting a document on how to implement the board’s recommendations.
“We want to meet and work with everyone so that the PN can have a document in hand on how Malta can return to normality and regain respect as soon as possible,” he said.
Portelli Bonnici hailed the late Caruana Galizia, stating that “a thank you isn’t enough to recognise what she did for our country, for which she had to pay the highest price”.
She also reached out to the assassinated journalist’s family and civil society, which she said “used to be a practically alien concept in Malta and was born after Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder”.
“Thank you for being instrumental in forcing the resignation of the most corrupt Prime Minister [Joseph Muscat] who has ever taken control of Malta,” she said. “You showed how important it is for people to exercise their fundamental right to protest, that civic duty goes beyond voting at elections, and that it’s important to make your voice heard and hold the politicians we elect accountable.”
“As someone who was involved in civil society before I was even involved in the PN, I realise how important it is to not only listen to their proposals but to actively include them in the process.”
“The PN will go beyond the inquiry’s recommendations to implement the necessary changes, even within its own structures. We will also work to carry out the necessary changes once we’re in government.”
The inquiry board issued several recommendations after finding the state culpable of creating a culture of impunity that permitted the assassination of Caruana Galizia in October 2017.
These include proposals to regulate lobbing, introduce unexplained wealth orders, criminalise the abuse of public office, and set up a specialised police unit to safeguard journalists.
They also include proposals to strengthen the journalism industry – such as establishing of a Commissioner for Journalistic Ethics, improving the Freedom of Information Act to end the “culture of secrecy”, clamping down on SLAPP suits, and fairly distributing government advertising among media houses.
The board also proposed revising the Broadcasting Authority and ending the practice that exempts political party media stations from impartiality.
What measures should be taken following the conclusion of the public inquiry?