Caruana Galizia family to get €50,000 in legal support
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Caruana Galizia family to get €50,000 in legal support

Grant will contribute to defamation lawsuits, public inquiry and monitoring

The family grieves during Daphne Caruana Galizia's funeral. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

The family grieves during Daphne Caruana Galizia's funeral. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Updated at 2.48pm

The Caruana Galizia family will benefit from up to €50,000 to help with legal support, including dealing with libel cases. 

Free Press Unlimited and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), said they were going to support the family of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia through a grant of €50,000.

The grant will come from an Free Press Unlimited fund and will be given to the ECPMF, which will use it to help cover costs in ongoing defamation lawsuits against Ms Caruana Galizia, a public inquiry on state responsibility for her murder and the monitoring of court hearings.

"Free Press Unlimited is contributing to the costs for the team of Maltese lawyers assisting the family. A legal expert from ECPMF will monitor the progress of the court cases," it added.

Free Press Unlimited (FPU) is an NGO based in Amsterdam dedicated to press freedom and freedom of speech.The grant will be implemented by the ECPMF.

Ms Caruana Galizia was facing over 30 defamation lawsuits at the time of her death, many of which remain pending, the organisations noted.

"Because these are civil cases, the family can be held accountable for damages if the court rules in favour of the complainants," Free Press Unlimited said.

Free Press Unlimited noted that Ms Caruana Galizia had faced numerous attempts to silence her when she was alive. Her front door was set on fire in 2006 and the family’s pet dog had also been left on her doorstep with a slit throat.

The organisation also said it will support the family with legal costs for a public inquiry into whether her murder could have been prevented.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat ruled out such an inquiry, saying that it would need to take place after the inquiry into Ms Caruana Galizia's murder is concluded. If the two inquiries had to take place at the same time, one could undermine the other, he said.

On behalf of the family, Matthew Caruana Galizia said, "We are grateful for the generous support and the work of our excellent lawyers. The grant shows how serious and worrying the situation in Malta is."

Welcoming the new initiative, ECPMF legal advisor Flutura Kusari said, "Thanks to FPU, we will be able to continue helping to defend the investigative work of Daphne Caruana Galizia in court and supporting her family in seeking justice."

Correction 2.48pm: A previous version of the article implied that the €50,000 grant would be given to the family directly. The funds will be managed by the ECPMF.

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