Fighting for justice in Malta – a timeline of the past two years
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]For those of you who are just catching up with the situation in Malta and the political upheaval, here’s a summary of some of the events Index and other organisations have been involved in over the past two years following the violent murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The killing of Daphne, a Maltese journalist investigating […]
10 Dec 19

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]For those of you who are just catching up with the situation in Malta and the political upheaval, here’s a summary of some of the events Index and other organisations have been involved in over the past two years following the violent murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The killing of Daphne, a Maltese journalist investigating corruption at the highest levels of government, shocked the world. Since her death in 2017, Index, working with many other parties and journalists around the world, has piled pressure on the government of Malta, the EU and other international organisations to get justice and accountability for her murder.

An attack on any journalist is an attack on freedom and democracy. Below is a background to our interventions over the last two years, often working with Caruana Galizia’s family and other organisations, such as journalists in Malta.



16 October 2017

As Galizia’s murder was reported, Index immediately called for a swift investigation: “We urge the Maltese authorities to swiftly and thoroughly investigate the circumstances to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Galizia conducted investigations, among many others, linking Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle, to secret offshore bank accounts revealed by the Panama Papers.

Galizia was sued in March 2017 by a property developer who filed 19 libel cases against her. In February 2017, economic minister Chris Cardona and his EU presidency policy officer Joseph Gerada filed four libel suits against the journalist.

17 October 2017

Index published an in-depth profile of Galizia, detailing her history of investigative journalism, the exceptional reach of her work in Malta and the litigious harassment she faced from those she investigated. One government minister’s lawyers questioned her “professional capacity as a journalist,” while Politico named her as one of “28 people who are shaping, shaking, and stirring Europe” thanks to her work on the Panama Papers.

18 October 2017

Together with 15 other press freedom groups, Index signed a call for an immediate and independent investigation into her death.

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,” said Hannah Machlin, from Index’s Mapping Media Freedom project.

2 November 2017

Index invited our supporters to join us at a vigil outside the Maltese High Commission in London.

4 December 2017

The first wave of arrests were made in connection with the crime in early December, but Doughty Street Chambers, which specialises in international human rights, raised issues around the independence of the investigation in urgent legal advice to the family of Galizia.

Joy Hyvarinen, head of advocacy at Index on Censorship, said: “The advice raises extremely serious questions about the Maltese police, and Index believes that external, independent investigators must be appointed urgently.”

16 January 2018

Three months on, Index took stock of events so far. Galizia’s family spoke at another vigil co-organised by Index, thanking us and other organisations for their continued support, and highlighting attempts to discredit her since her death.

19 January 2018

Index joined a letter calling on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to appoint a Special Rapporteur to monitor the investigation into the murder 

23 March 2018

Amid reports that the Prime Minister of Malta was suing Matthew Caruana Galizia, Daphne’s son, over a Facebook post, Index joined an open letter to diplomats in Malta. The letter urged the diplomats make their presence felt by the government, saying: “Your engagement in this case is setting a standard and precedent for what is permissible in the European Union.”

28 May 2018

Index on Censorship’s editor, Rachael Jolley, spoke alongside Daphne’s son Paul Caruana Galizia, and her fellow Maltese journalist Caroline Muscat of The Shift News at the Hay Festival in a panel chaired by the BBC’s Katya Adler.

13 July 2018

The summer 2018 issue of Index on Censorship magazine published an article by Caroline Muscat, taking a closer look at the hidden underbelly of Valetta in Malta – that year’s European Capital of Culture.

10 October 2018

Approaching the first anniversary of Galizia’s death, Index spoke to her son, Paul Caruana Galizia:

“It’s a very personal thing what motivates a journalist to carry on writing in the face of all those threats and violence,” said Paul, “for my mother it was that you can’t just leave things alone, you can’t let injustice carry on, you can’t, in her words, just let people get away with it.”

Index also joined with other organisations in an open letter direct to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, calling for the establishment of a public inquiry.

15 October 2018

Index published a profile of Caroline Muscat, a Maltese journalist whose work at online news project The Shift News has followed the spirit of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

“The Shift is journalism, but it is a movement too. Yes, I have an agenda. My agenda is press freedom, democracy, rule of law. We don’t have the luxury anymore to demand anything else. No, I don’t think The Shift will find the final piece of the puzzle that will solve Daphne’s murder. Such an expectation is unrealistic. All we can do is continue to investigate and contribute to adding pieces of the puzzle.” – Caroline Muscat.

4 December 2018

Index joined again with eight other organisations to condemn the lack of justice for Daphne. The statement emphasised the need for full justice for Caruana Galizia’s murder, stating “Every person involved in the planning and carrying out of this heinous attack must be identified and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

13 June 2019

Index appealed to EU leaders ahead of a South EU Summit held in Malta. Writing together with other organisations, the letter reminded the recipients: “By signing the Sibiu Declaration, you have pledged to safeguard Europe’s democratic values and the rule of law. We therefore urge you to address the matter of safety of journalists and ongoing impunity in the case of Daphne Caruana Galizia in your meeting with Prime Minister Muscat in Valletta on 14 June.”

6 July 2019

Rachael Jolley, Index’s editor-in-chief, spoke at numerous panels at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy. One focussed on ‘Harnessing journalism for justice in the murder of journalists’ and another was held with the editor of the Maltese news portal The Shift News, Caroline Muscat.

10 October 2019

Ahead of the second anniversary of Caruana Galizia’s murder, Index released a statement lamenting the lack of action on the case, and the continued harassment of her family.

Joy Hyvarinen, head of advocacy at Index on Censorship, said: “It is appalling that Daphne Caruana Galizia’s brutal murder remains unsolved after two years and that the government of Malta has only now established an inquiry, and that it has done so in a way that raises serious questions about the independence of that inquiry. Index urges other European countries to make it clear to Malta that the inquiry must be independent.”

16 October 2019

Index joined with other organisations on the second anniversary of the murder to spell out their demands for justice.

“Today, on 16 October 2019, we are gathering in vigils to remember Daphne Caruana Galizia and renew calls for justice in Valletta, London, Brussels, Berlin, and Vienna. We will continue our campaigning and our joint advocacy at international organisations such as PACE until all those involved in every aspect of this heinous attack are brought to justice – including the masterminds.

We urge the Maltese authorities to ensure that this is the very last anniversary that passes without full justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia.”


In late November and December 2019 a number of high-profile arrests and resignations from government were made. On 1 December Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced his intention to resign due to the crisis, once a new leader could be chosen for his party in January.

The situation continues to evolve and change follow journalists @theshiftnews and @pcaruanagalizia and @mcaruanagalizia for up-to-date news.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]