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Two months since Daphne’s death

What happened today and what we know so far

Daphne Caruana Galizia
Slain journalist Daphne Caruana Glizia is was killed in Bidnija on 16 October. Photo: Pierre Ellul

A mass was held today at Bidnija church organised by the Occupy Justice Movement with the members of the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia to mark two months since the journalist’s assassination.

Those attending walked to the field that is the site of her assassination and laid poinsettas and banners calling for justice.

This followed banners spread in different locations last night with the message, “we want the truth; the whole truth”

Daphne Caruana Galizia

As the assassination of Malta’s most prominent journalist continues to dominate international headlines, The Shift gives an overview of developments over the last month.

Arrests

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addressed a hastily organised press conference on December 4 in which he said eight people were arrested. As he was addressing the media, another two were arrested in what police sources told The Shift was “a nest of criminality” in Malta.

Three were arraigned – George Degiorgio (Ic-Ċiniż), his brother Alfred (Il-Fulu) and their friend Vincent Muscat (Il-Koħħu) – all known to the police, but they had somehow always managed to escape justice.

Within an hour of the arrests, Labour MP and OPM blogger Glenn Bedingfield launched an attack on The Shift on Twitter for not reporting the government’s press conference.

The Shift has always maintained that justice would only be delivered if the mastermind who commissioned the crime was hauled before the courts. There is no sign of that yet, and court hearings on the three known crooks in Malta have already shown that proceedings can drag on for years before any significant insight is gained.

Last week, the International Federation of Journalists called for an independent and impartial investigation, not only covering the superficial evidence of the killing but also going until the very end of the information Daphne was investigating.

What about Darren Debono?

It is important to note that the line on investigations on fuel smuggling involving Darren Debono and Gordon Debono, fed to specific journalists in the days following the journalist’s assassination, is now nowhere on the radar.These same journalists are now being given leads on the new line of inquiry after the arrests.

The same trickling of information to selected journalists in Malta and abroad on evidence held by the police and the government on the suspects now arraigned continues to occur, while the public is being told to “wait and see”.

This jars with pressure on the media, in any other court case, not to talk about ongoing proceedings in court. The term “sub judice” is engraved in every Maltese journalist’s mind because this is the answer received to queries related to ongoing cases in court.

In this case, information has flown freely to the chosen few journalists by the few who had access to the evidence.

Family branded as ‘enemies of the state’

Caruana Galizia’s family published a 22-page opinion given to them by Amal Clooney’s British law chambers – Doughty Street Chambers – declaring the family’s human rights have been systematically broken: Daphne Caruana Galizia had insufficient police protection in the last period of her life; her family’s rights had been given scant attention by the police since the murder; and the investigation is being compromised.

juliette garside
Juliette Garside, The Guardian

It was met by a heavy-handed reaction by the government which accused the widower and sons of the murdered journalist of a one-sided contemptuous attack on the Maltese State, intended to undermine its sovereignty, credibility and authority nationally and internationally.

paul caruana galizia
Paul Caruana Galizia, Daphne’s son, reacting to the government statement

At the heart of accusation and counter-accusation lies the court case begun by the Caruana Galizia family last week, which demanded the removal of Deputy Police Commissioner Silvio Valletta (husband of Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana) from the investigation into the assassination. The family says his involvement could prejudice its chances of obtaining justice.

Judge Silvio Meli went as far as claiming the advice had a “neo-colonialist” tinge to it.

International fora

Paul Caruana Galizia delivered a key note speech at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna on 11 December.

“We speak to you today as the sons of a murdered journalist, our mother Daphne Caruana Galizia. But it isn’t only murder that we want to speak about. We are late, far too late, if  we speak only about murder.  Before a journalist is murdered, they are harassed physically, psychologically, financially. And here too there is impunity.

  • Veronica Guerin: countless death threats, two shots into her home, gun to her head, bullet in her leg.
  • Anna Politkovskaya: countless death threats, military arrest, mock execution, near-fatal poisoning.
  • Daphne Caruana Galizia: countless death threats, arson attacks, 57 law suits, bank accounts frozen, arrests, tax investigations.

The death threats our mother received and the arson attacks on our home have gone unpunished. The law suits against her remain.

The last time she left our house was to go to the bank. She wanted access to her account; frozen by Malta’s Economy Minister [Chris Cardona]. She barely made it out of our drive, dying without access to her own money, while the Minister remains in Cabinet, and we her heirs continue fighting him in court to have that money released.

When those alarms ring they don’t ring for journalists, they ring for all of us.”

International recognition

The hate speech in Malta did not die with Caruana Galizia. On social media, posts by people who openly express themselves as supporters of the Labour Party in government continue to attack anyone demanding justice. Yet, her contribution to the truth has been recognised worldwide.

Daphne Caruana Galizia

This is only some of the recognition she has gained on an international level:

  • The Italian Forum for Women Mediterranean Journalists in Italy last month committed to collaboration to discover the truth behind Caruana Galizia’s death. The tag #veritaperdaphne spread to Italian journalists who pledged to follow her investigations.
  • European Parliament, Strasbourg, France. Counterpart to the Sakharov Prize. Proposed by the European Parliament resolution on rule of law in Malta on November 10, 2017. Adopted on November 14, 2017.
  • European Parliament Press Room named after Daphne Caruana Galizia. European Parliament, Strasbourg, France. Inaugurated on November 14, 2017
  • Courage in Journalism Award, The Legatum prize, by the Legatum Institute, London, UK, was created in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s honour on November 29, 2017.
  • Holme Award. Göteborgs Handels- och Sjöfartstidning, Gothenburg, Sweden. Awarded on December 1, 2017.
  • ReporterPreis honorary award 2017, Reporter Forum, Berlin, Germany. Awarded on December 11, 2017. (The presentation received a standing ovation).
  • Premio Giornalisti 2017 awarded by the Tuscan Association of Journalists.
  • Pegaso d’Argento (symbol of the Tuscan region and a symbol of freedom). Tuscan Regional Council. Presented on December 14, 2017.

“In the name of these concepts — truth and journalism, and the liberty of a community — Daphne Caruana Galizia gave her life” -Eugenio Giani, president, Regional Council of Tuscany

Tributes and awards for her work will continue to be announced next year.

Escalating demands for the whole truth

Demands for the whole truth behind the assassination continue to be made. Banners were set up in different locations last night with a warning that nothing but the whole truth will satisy demands for justice.

Caruana Galizia’s sister, Helene Asciak, reminded the public about what the journalist had said before her death; a message of encouragement to those now vilified for demanding the truth:

“When people taunt you or criticise you for being ‘negative’ or for failing to go with their flow, for not adapting an attitude of benign tolerance to their excesses, bear in mind always that they, and not you, are the ones in the wrong”

helene asciak

 

 

 

 

 

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