In a statement issued today Index on Censorship and 15 other press freedom organisations, including the AEJ, jointly condemn the killing of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and call for an immediate and independent investigation into her death.“The murder of a prominent investigative journalist in broad daylight in an EU Member State underscores the seriousness of this crime. Daphne Caruana Galizia’s work as a journalist to hold power to account and shine a light on corruption is vital to maintaining our democratic institutions. Her killing is a loss for her country and for Europe”, Hannah Machlin, project manager for Index on Censorship’s data platform Mapping Media Freedom, said.
Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed when the car she was driving exploded in Bidnija around 15.00 on 16 October in what is thought to have been a targeted attack.
“The barbaric murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia is an attack on journalism itself. This crime is meant to intimidate every investigative journalist,” Dr Lutz Kinkel, Managing Director of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, said.
“Because Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and parts of Malta’s political elite were targets of Galizia’s disclosures, we strongly recommend an independent investigation of this case. The killers have to be found and put on trial.”
The blast left her vehicle in several pieces and threw debris into a nearby field. Half an hour before the powerful explosion, the journalist posted a comment about a libel claim the prime minister’s chief of staff had brought against a former opposition leader over comments the latter made about corruption.
Galizia filed a police report 16 days ago saying she was being threatened. The joint statement also calls for protection for family members of the murdered journalist and for other Maltese journalists who have been under threat; and fresh measures to protect the environment for independent and critical journalism to ensure that reporters can work freely.
Read the whole ‘Index on Censorship’ Statement ‘International press freedom groups condemn killing of Maltese investigative journalist’
The AEJ’s Media Freedom Representative William Horsley reflected widespread shock among the association’s members at the news of the brutal killing of a journalist in Malta in a car bombing: ‘AEJ journalists across Europe are shocked and horrified by the brutal and pre-meditated murder of a fearless and outstanding investigative journalist’ he said. ‘Daphne Caruana Galizia exposed corruption in high places in Malta and had suffered reprisals against her by the island’s authorities after her investigations prompted by revelations from the Panama Papers. Those facts, and the authorities’ failure to protect her despite earlier threats to her life all place a special burden of responsibility on those authorities to ensure that an independent investigation into the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia is able to expose and bring to justice those responsible for her murder.’
Professor Marilyn Clark of the University of Malta responded to the AEJ’s request to share her assessment of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s life and work. Professor Clark, who conducted a recently published major study for the Council of Europe ‘Journalists under pressure: Unwarranted interference, fear and self-censorship in Europe’ Clark, said: ‘ Ms. Caruana Galizia’s exceptional career as a journalist in Malta spanned three decades. Her relentless efforts at bringing those in positions of power to account resulted in numerous experiences of unwarranted interference from a variety of sources, which nonetheless left her resolved to continue to provide a scathing critique of Maltese society, most notably cases of alleged corruption. She continued to show extreme resilience in a climate of pressure brought about by experiences of judicial and economic intimidation, smear campaigning and attacks on her moral integrity. The many attempts to silence her made her resolve to investigate the truth even stronger and to not self-censor. In a small interdependent, patriarchal society like Malta she risked exclusion and ridicule, but was not deterred. She remains the utmost role model for those aspiring to the journalistic profession.’
Read more about the Council of Europe study, based on interviews with almost 1000 journalists working across Europe here: