We hope that Roberta Metsola will continue her strong record on protecting the rights of journalists and supporting free expression, and the fight for justice for journalists including Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak.February 4, 2022
As a chapter of PEN International, Scottish PEN and its members pledge themselves to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression in the country and community to which they belong, as well as throughout the world wherever this is possible. In line with that commitment, since the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta in 2017, Scottish PEN has, alongside Daphne’s family, other NGOs and activists, offered what support it can in raising awareness of the circumstances of Daphne’s murder.
Therefore, although Scottish PEN is not a political organisation, the Board feels it appropriate to mark the election of Roberta Metsola to the role of President of the European Parliament. She used her inaugural speech as an opportunity to stress her position on press freedom, stating: ‘For the despots, those who want to destroy Europe, this house is against you… Journalists’ fight for justice is our fight’. She also highlighted the ongoing cases of not just Daphne Caruana Galizia, but also Jan Kuciak, the Slovakian journalist murdered in 2018, telling their families, ‘Your fight for truth and justice is our fight’.
Responding to the news, Scottish PEN’s Writers at Risk Committee Co-Chair Lizzie Eldridge said:
Saturday 16th October 2021 marked four years since the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia in a car bomb attack in Malta. Full accountability for her murder remains elusive, and Scottish PEN has joined forces with advocacy groups and PEN centres around the world to pursue a joint call for justice ever since the assassination in 2017.
As with many other journalists and writers at risk around the world, Daphne was killed because her writing exposed rampant corruption and abuse of power among the country’s highest levels of government and business. Unfortunately, her death has not meant the end of these abusive practices.
In this climate and context, the election of Roberta Metsola to the presidency of the European Parliament is crucial. She has joined protests, participated in EU debates and been a public advocate for the case since 2017. Her position of influence in Malta and internationally will ensure the spotlight remains fixed on the case until justice is served.
Scottish PEN continues to support the campaigns for justice for Daphne and for Jan Kuciak. We hope that Roberta Metsola will continue her strong record on protecting the rights of journalists and supporting free expression, and the fight for justice for journalists including Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak. We urge the European Union to use her election as President of the European Parliament to mark a new chapter for the EU in actively fighting for the freedom of expression of journalists and writers, and we offer our support to that project, regardless of political affiliations.
Header image by Christian Lue via Unsplash