Press freedom campaigners have called for an end to impunity for the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who was killed by a car bomb in Malta two years ago today.
Three men charged with her murder are yet to be put on trial, while those who masterminded her assassination remain at large. The Maltese government last month launched a public inquiry into her death.
In a joint statement, ten campaign groups, including Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, cricitised Maltese authorities for their failure to deliver justice for the journalist.
Six of them visited the Mediterranean island nation, which is a member of the European Union, on the first anniversary of her death last year.
They said today: “A full year after our mission, the Maltese authorities have failed to meaningfully address any of the serious concerns we raised, or fully implement any of the recommendations we outlined in our statement of findings as necessary steps towards ensuring justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia and concretely improving the broader freedom of expression situation in Malta.”
RSF has published a special report about Caruana Galizia’s death and the “deteriorating press freedom climate” in Malta. The report was written in conjunction with The Shift News, which is continuing her work.
It said: “Continued impunity for the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia creates a very real risk for journalists pursuing public interest investigative journalism in Malta and beyond, and must be addressed to ensure the safety of journalists and respect for press freedom across Europe.”
A vigil was held in Maltese capital Valetta at 1pm today, with another planned in London this evening along with others in Brussels, Berlin and Vienna, to mark the anniversary.
Paying tribute to Caruana Galizia today, the EU Commission said in a statement that her murder on 16 October 2017, while driving near her home in Mosta, was an “act of unspeakable brutality”.
“We would like once more to pay tribute to her hard work and relentlessness and extend our most heartfelt sympathies to her family,” the Commission said.
“Today is again a stark reminder that the right of a journalist to investigate, ask uncomfortable questions then report effectively is at the heart of the EU’s values and needs to be guaranteed at all times.
“If journalists are silenced so is democracy.”
In tribute to Caruana Galizia yesterday, European Parliament President David Sassoli said that “being killed for doing your job is never acceptable”.
He also said the EU wants to “encourage and support the work of the judiciary and the Maltese authorities in attempting to shed light on the brutal murder of Daphne and bring those responsible to justice”.
On the day of her death, Caruana Galizia had published what would be her final article on her blog site Running Commentary, related to a court case brought by the Maltese Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri against the former opposition leader Simon Busuttil.
Her last written words were: “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.”
Press freedom groups said members of Caruana Galizia’s family, journalists and activists – as well as members of its own delegation – had faced attacks since her death.
Her family also continue to face defamation lawsuits, despite her death, including from Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat while a memorial to her in Valetta is routinely destroyed.
“We will continue our campaigning and our joint advocacy at international organisations… until all those involved in every aspect of this heinous attack are brought to justice – including the masterminds,” said campaigners.