Murdered journalist's son speaks at University defamation law event

A Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist whose journalist mother was assassinated in a car bomb attack will join other renowned international reporters, global press freedom NGOs, EU representatives and law experts at a special defamation law workshop at the University of Aberdeen.

Matthew Caruana Galizia’s mother, Daphne, was Malta’s leading investigative journalist and anti-corruption campaigner when she was killed in October 2017.

She was one of the only reporters who refused to redact or delete online news articles about allegations of money laundering in Malta following threats of legal action from UK-based lawyers acting on behalf of a Maltese bank.

The incident prompted research that will underpin this event at the University on March 4, which will also commemorate Daphne Caruana Galizia and recall her efforts to preserve freedom of expression.

Matthew Caruana Galizia, who was part of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) who worked on the Panama Papers among a number of other important investigations, will address the workshop. Since leaving the ICIJ he has set up a family foundation in the name of his mother.

The workshop coincides with the publication of an academic working paper by Dr Justin Borg-Barthet (‘The Brussels I Regulation as an Instrument for the Undermining of Press Freedoms and the Rule of Law: an Urgent Call for Reform’).

The discussions will inform NGOs’ advocacy efforts concerning legal reforms to preserve press freedoms in the run-up to European Parliament elections and the appointment of a new European Commission.

Dr Borg-Barthet stated: “We are delighted to have gathered global leaders in journalism, activism, the legal profession, academia and public service. Abuse of libel laws is a widespread problem which strikes at the heart of democracy and the rule of law.  We hope that this workshop will help to focus minds on both the need for legislative reform, and the technical innovations required to achieve this.”

Also in attendance will be:

  • Caroline Muscat, co-founder and editor of The Shift News;
  • Gill Phillips, Director of Editorial Legal Services for the Guardian and Observer;
  • Rebecca Vincent, UK Bureau for Reporters Without Borders;
  • Dr Justin Borg-Barthet, senior lecturer in law at University of Aberdeen;
  • Alex Mills, Professor of Public and Private International Law at UCL;
  • Flutura Kusari, legal advisor to the European Centre for Press and Media
  • Lori A. Ringhand, Professor of Law at University of Georgia
  • Margo Smit, News ombudsman of Dutch public broadcasters at NPO
  • Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, human rights, public and media law specialist
  • Pia Lindholm, Deputy Head of Unit for Civil Justice in Directorate-General Justice and Consumers of the European Commission
  • Tom Gibson, Committee to Protect Journalists, Brussels advocate
  • Scott Griffen, deputy director at International Press Institute (IPI)
  • Sarah Clarke, ARTICLE 19 Europe and Central Asia lead

Due to constraints of space and format, participation in the workshop is by application only. If you are interested in participating, please contact Dr Justin Borg-Barthet -