Three months on: Murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia
17 Jan 2018

Yesterday marked three months since the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Gathering outside the Maltese embassy in Malta House, London, members from Index on Censorship stood with seven other free speech and criminal justice organisations to mark the anniversary and call on the Maltese government to ensure justice is served. I spoke with Hannah Machlin, project manager for Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom platform, Cat Lucas, programme manager for English Pen’s Writers at Risk programme, and Rebecca Vincent, UK bureau director for Reporters Without Borders for this special podcast.

During the vigil, participants left bay leaves — which in Greek mythology are a sign of bravery and strength — outside the embassy in a sign of solidarity with supporters in Malta, while a statement from Caruana Galizia’s family was read out.

Three months on, free expression and anti-corruption groups call for justice for murdered Maltese journalist

Caruana Galizia was killed on 16 October 2017 when a bomb placed under her car exploded as she was leaving her home in Bidnija, Malta. Sixteen days prior to the fatal attack, Caruana Galizia filed a police report saying she was being threatened.

Through her investigative journalism career, Caruana Galizia exposed corrupt politicians and other officials, uncovering a number of corruption scandals in the Panama Papers. Caruana Galizia also investigated links between Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to secret offshore bank accounts, to allegedly hide payments from Azerbaijan’s ruling family. Her work on government corruption also led to early elections in Malta in June 2017.

At the time of her death, Caruana Galizia was subject to several libel suits and counts of harassment. Her assets were frozen in February 2017 following a request filed by Economic Minister Chris Cardona and his EU presidency policy officer Joseph Gerada.

Her murder was condemned by many from the international community, with a previous vigil held on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, where nearly 60 free expression advocates gathered, calling for justice and an open and transparent investigation into her death.

Malta is currently ranked 47th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ 2017 World Press Freedom Index, and 47th out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2016.

Seven reports of violations of press freedom were verified in Malta in 2017, according to Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project. Five of those are linked to Caruana Galizia and her family.

Malta: Renewed call for justice 1,000 days after the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia

Index on Censorship joins 12 other organisations in calling on Maltese authorities to honour her legacy and ensure that those implicated in her murder are brought to justice

Index on Censorship project to expose ‘vexatious’ legal threats on journalists (The Shift)

UK-based non-profit organisation Index on Censorship will be launching a new research project later this month that will expose the extent to which individuals with wealth and influence use “vexatious” legal threats to shut down investigations into their practices.

This Week at Index: Free speech is for me – the class of 2020

Free speech is in danger of being co-opted by extremists. This has led to all sorts of effects on our societies, from “deplatforming” on social media and in debates, to proposed laws on curbing speech which might cause offence. Here at Index, we want to push back against that.

This Week at Index: A look back at 2019, and a new issue

This week, Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced that he would resign in January – news which was welcomed by all those who have been protesting regularly for him to quit – but which also prompted calls that he should go immediately

Danyaal Yasin

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