Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar took to Twitter on Friday to tell the son of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, assassinated in a car bomb on 16 October, that demands for justice were “embarissing” (sic).
Cutajar also roped in Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in her post on the day citizens renewed their calls for justice four months since Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb near her home.
The Labour MP decided to let Matthew Caruana Galizia know that she thought his mother was “a divisive person” who “was disliked by the great majority”. Attempts to “worship” and commemorate Caruana Galizia, were “embarissing” (sic), she added.
Cutajar’s Twitter account is heavy with insults to the slain journalist who she says “harassed” people.
Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola referred to Cutajar in a post of her own, expressing her disbelief: “This is real, she is not trying to be ironic”.
The Prime Minister has pledged to “leave no stone unturned” in solving the crime, and yet increasingly, members of government have taken to social media to criticise those demanding justice. They include OPM blogger and Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield, and the chairman of Valletta 2018, Jason Micallef, who demanded the memorial’s removal.
Muscat has not condemned this behaviour. The fact that they include individuals working at his office, as well as Cutajar’s link to him in her Twitter post, suggest such actions are encouraged.
A co-ordinated effort to counter that by activists who renew their calls for justice on the day of Caruana Galizia’s death every month was clear on Friday. Columnists reminded people she was hated, as did members of the government joined by loyalists and trolls on social media.
Prior to a planned event at her memorial, photos of former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff, Raymond Caruana, gunned down in 1986, and Karin Grech, murdered in 1977, were placed on Daphne’s memorial.
Caruana’s nephew, Stefan Caruana, expressed the family’s anger at the fact that his photo was put next to others at the journalist’s memorial. In a Facebook post, he said it was shameful that his uncle’s photo was put alongside that of somebody who had “for many years ignored the violent political elements” which had led to his death, in reference to Mintoff.
He said the Caruana family had suffered as much as Caruana Galizia’s and the Grech family. He appealed to people to be brave.
Confirming the effort to silence critics and activists calling for justice, banners placed in Valletta and Kappara on Friday morning with the message ‘Who Killed Daphne?’ were removed the same day, while citizens were holding a candlelight vigil at her memorial in Valletta. Billboards placed by #OccupyJustice was also removed in the night.