Reporters Without Borders (RSF) honoured Maltese journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia at its 2018 Press Freedom Awards yesterday evening.
The prize for Impact honours journalists, media or NGOs whose work has led to concrete improvement in journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism, or to an increase in awareness of these matters.
Pauline Adès-Mével, head of RSF’s EU-Balkans desk, said: “Over the past year, Matthew Caruana Galizia has campaigned tirelessly for justice for the murder of his mother, journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and for justice to be rendered for all the crimes she exposed”.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and software engineer, Matthew worked at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) for five years, where he co-founded its Data and Research Unit. He left the ICIJ in 2018 to focus on the case of his mother, Daphne Caruana Galizia, herself an investigative journalist who was assassinated by a car bomb near her home in Malta in October 2017.
He has worked tirelessly to obtain justice for his mother’s assassination and for the crimes she exposed, to galvanise the international community and to hold the Maltese authorities to account.
She said Matthew should take pride in having made a difference by showing another side of Malta, “a small Mediterranean archipelago that, behind its tourist paradise facade, is plagued by corruption. We join Matthew’s call for full justice for his mother, and hope this award will offer him support and protection for his valuable work”.
The prestigious annual awards ceremony, held in London for the first time this year, was presented by Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 News’ Chief International Correspondent.
RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said: “Every year I am astounded by the quality and passion of journalists around the world who put their safety at risk in pursuit of the truth, and it is an honour to be able to highlight the work of these courageous individuals. We hope that this recognition will offer them vital support and protection as they carry on their important work in the face of growing pressure against independent media in their home countries”.
Other noteworthy participants who spoke at the awards included BBC Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet, former RSF award winners Can Dundar and Zaina Erhaim, Chinese dissident activist Wu’er Kaixi, Fleet Street legend Eve Pollard, and media commentator Roy Greenslade.
The ceremony highlighted the importance of press freedom and safety of journalists, especially in the wake of the killing of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Established in 1992, previous winners of RSF’s Press Freedom Awards include the renowned late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, courageous Syrian journalist Zaina Erhaim, and embattled Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet.
This year’s awards were selected by a high-profile international jury, including notable figures such as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and Chinese activist Wu’er Kaixi – both RSF emeritus board members – as well as RSF President Pierre Haski.
RSF’s UK advisory board – including Pollard, former Director of BBC News James Harding, Channel 4 News Anchor Jon Snow, and media commentator Roy Greenslade – selected the winner of the special ‘L’esprit de RSF’ prize Carole Cadwalladr.
An award-winning reporter for The Guardian and The Observer, Cadwalladr’s reporting on the manipulation and subversion of democratic processes in the US and UK resulted in the exposure of the role of Cambridge Analytica and its satellite AggregateIQ in the Trump and Brexit campaigns.
Cadwalladr’s investigation found that the data analytics firm that worked with Trump’s election team in the US and the Leave campaign in the UK harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest-ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software programme to predict and influence choice at the ballot box.