The sons of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia received an award in recognition of her investigative journalism from European Parliament President Antonio Tajani at the European Leadership Awards ceremony by Euronews and the European Business Summit in Brussels on Wednesday.
The European Leadership Awards recognise outstanding achievements in business, politics, entrepreneurship and innovation. Caruana Galizia was given the Contribution to Society Award in recognition of her work in the area of investigative journalism.
Speaking at the start of the ceremony, Tajani said: “Our Union is built on freedom of expression, democracy and the rule of law – these values are at the very heart of our European identity. Daphne Caruana Galizia has fought all her life to defend these values. Her assassination is an attack on the foundations of our Union… We will continue to demand justice, on behalf of the thousands of Daphne’s readers who paid their last respects in Mosta, and with the full force of the voice of 500 million citizens”.
Her sons, Andrew and Matthew, received the award at the ceremony held at Egmont Palace, Brussels. Andrew accepted the award on behalf of all those working to keep the memory of Caruana Galizia alive.
“My mother’s death and the manner in which she was killed are an unmitigated disaster for freedom of expression in Europe and a symptom of deep institutional failure in Malta and institutional powerlessness in Europe. Seven months since her assassination, nothing has changed,” said Andrew Caruana Galizia.
He outlined how a journalist’s legacy is destroyed. First, by celebrating her death. “There are politicians, public officials, and people who’ve never read anything she wrote, who are happy that my mother was killed and particularly happy that her death was horrific.”
“Some of the people who were responsible for my mother’s protection, and who are now responsible for securing justice for her death, are pleased that she can no longer report on their ethical breaches, condemn their corrupt practices or mock their incompetence. We know this because they are not embarrased to say so”.
Second, “by distorting her work when she is no longer alive to defend it” and, third, by encouraging people to forget her, Andrew said.
He described how home affairs minister Michael Farrugia downplayed her death as “unlucky”, how finance minister Edward Scicluna described the global outrage at her death as “exaggerated” and how Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said two months after her death that it was time to move on.
“My mother is now beyond all harm and no longer needs anyone’s protection. But her memory continues to be targeted by powerful people who won’t rest until her legacy has been completely destroyed. We can’t let that happen”.
Caruana Galizia was assassinated in a car bomb a few metres away from her home on 16 October. Three men who allegedly carried out the assassination have been arrested but the nation is no closer to knowing the mastermind who wanted her silenced.
Protests and vigils calling for justice for the assassinated journalist continue to be held in Malta every 16th of the month at the makeshift memorial dedicated to her in front of the law courts in Valletta – a reminder that justice has not been served.
The memorial dedicated to her has been repeatedly destroyed following incendiary remarks by the chairman of Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture Jason Micallef and other MPs and government officials. The Prime Minister has not condemned the attacks or the language.
On 16 May, seven months since her assassination, Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar stood in Parliament and dedicated a lengthy speech to branding Caruana Galizia a hate blogger.
Caruana Galizia has received a number of prestigious awards since her assassination but she continues to be vilified by government officials and supporters. An investigation by The Shift News into Labour’s online hate groups showed posts that continued to attack the journalist posthumously, as well as members of her family.