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We will continue to demand justice - Antonio Tajani

PE president calls on European Commission for financial support for investigative journalism

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani stood with the mourners and the family outside the Rotunda in Mosta. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani stood with the mourners and the family outside the Rotunda in Mosta. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

We are European. Our freedom to speak out our mind, decide on our governments and hold them to account lies at the very heart of our shared values, of a common European identity. Europe is indeed much more than its economy or its institutions. Europe is above all about our right to uphold and insist on democratic standards.

Daphne was the foot-soldier in this battle to safeguard our values. One year from her barbaric assassination, we must underline what she stood for. To my mind she stood for the very same values that make us European. She fought all her life to defend them. Her assassination is hence a direct attack on the foundations of our Union.

This is why the European Parliament, as a representative of all the peoples of Europe, cannot forget Daphne and will keep on calling loud for justice to be made with her, with her family and with the Maltese people.

We will continue to demand justice, on behalf of the thousands of Daphne’s readers who pay their respects at the great Siege Memorial in Valletta and the thousands whom I joined to pay the last respects at the Rotunda in Mosta. In standing for Daphne, you should know that you have the full force of the voice of 500 million European citizens with you.

In standing for Daphne, you should know that you have the full force of the voice of 500 million European citizens with you

Daphne’s murder has shocked Malta. It has also shocked Europe. Her death must not be in vain. We at the European Parliament immediately triggered a number of initiatives inspired by her work and her battle. Apart for the symbolic gestures like the naming of the press conference hall in Strasbourg in her name we are also pushing legislative initiatives to ensure that Daphne’s colleagues, in Malta and across our continent, are better protected.

The murder of a journalist is a blow to the rule of law. For this reason, earlier this year we adopted a resolution to strengthen the protection of investigative journalists. We ask the European Commission for financial support for investigative journalism. We also want to protect journalists from unfair threats from million-dollar lawsuits like the one which Daphne had to face. We have therefore proposed a new European system to avoid intimidation. We will ensure that these initiatives are implemented as soon as possible in all member states.

No journalist should endanger his or her life in the search for truth. It is thanks to the work of a free and independent media that we can enjoy democracy and all the fundamental rights on which the Europe project and our own civilisation are based.

One year has passed from the injustice that parted Daphne from her family, her readers, her people and her pen. And yet, it is clear that her legacy still remains with us. I am sure that her story has inspired thousands of journalists and media students the world over. All of these will be saddened by the tragic ending, but all will admire her determination to stand up tall for what she believed in.

This is therefore how I want to remember Daphne today, a person who has inspired me and many others, a person who drives us to achieve more in public life, for the sake of all our citizens.

Antonio Tajani is president of the European Parliament.

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