Index 2024
73/ 180
Score : 60.96
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
84/ 180
Score : 59.76
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

In Malta, journalists face a highly polarised environment that is heavily influenced by political parties. In 2021, the conclusions of a public inquiry into investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder listed an exhaustive list of reforms that the government has been reluctant to implement. 

Media landscape

The public broadcaster PBS is the most watched television channel, ahead of TV stations owned by political parties. In addition to the three traditional, independent, English-language newspapers (Times of Malta, Malta Independent and Malta Today), there are online news portals and blogs. 

Political context

The ruling party wields a strong influence over the public broadcaster and uses state advertising to exert pressure on privately owned media. Many politicians select certain journalists for exclusive interviews, while those considered “hostile” are sidelined and targeted for attacks. Journalists must have a government-issued “access card” to cover government events or attend press conferences. 

Legal framework

Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the constitution, but the legal and regulatory framework does not allow journalists to exercise their rights. Discriminating against independent media in access to information, the authorities have gone so far as to challenge in court each of the 40 requests for access to information sent by a media outlet, through a new type of SLAPP procedure. Members of the family of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, murdered in 2017, have even been subjected to posthumous defamation suits. 

Economic context

Although it is relatively easy to launch a media outlet, the small market size offers limited sources of funding for independent media whose sustainability is undermined by non-transparent and discriminatory distribution of public funds. Subsidies are mostly granted to media outlets that adhere to a political party’s line. 

Sociocultural context

On almost every issue of public interest, Maltese society suffers from deep polarisation. Coverage of topics such as migration or abortion remains unpopular and incites abuse against journalists covering these topics. Very few journalists from minority groups work for the mainstream media. 


Justice still hasn’t been fully served for the 2017 murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. In 2022, two hitmen pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 40 years in prison. Previously, one of the perpetrators and the middleman were pardoned in exchange for information. But the mastermind and others responsible for the crime have yet to be convicted. Although the public inquiry recognised that “the state must take responsibility for the assassination because it created an atmosphere of impunity”, the resulting recommendations have not been implemented. 

Abuses in real time in Malta

Killed since 1st January 2024
0 journalists
0 media workers
Detained as of today
0 journalists
0 media workers