The Bureau of the European Parliament, presided by the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, has approved a proposal to create a prize for investigative journalism to be named after Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, assassinated on 16 October 2017.
The Daphne Caruana Galizia prize, which follows the European Parliament’s decision to name the Press Room in Strasbourg in memory of the journalist, aims to honour European investigative journalists for their work and promote media freedom and freedom of expression.
A month after Caruana Galizia was assassinated, the European Parliament had approved a resolution calling for the creation of the award. But it was only yesterday evening that the Bureau approved the proposal to have this prize created.
MEP Sven Giegold, co-initiator of the proposal for the prize, said the proposal had been “delayed and blocked” by the Parliament’s Bureau for two years, adding that the cruel murder of Caruana Galizia has shown that press freedom could not be taken for granted in Europe.
“The prize is intended to strengthen investigative journalism and press freedom in Europe as a whole. There are problems with freedom of the press not only in Malta but also in Hungary and Poland. The importance of investigative journalism has been demonstrated by the many revelations of tax scandals in recent years. Without cross-border investigative journalism, it would hardly have been possible to uncover the Panama Papers or LuxLeaks,” Giegold said.
He pointed out that politics and business were increasingly organised on a global scale, and journalism had to follow. “A European democracy needs strong European journalism. We want to contribute to this with this prize,” the MEP added.
European Parliament Vice-President Heidi Hautala and European Parliament Quaestor David Casa hailed the creation of the Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for Investigative Journalism under the patronage of the European Parliament.
Daphne was a fearless, first-class journalist. This prize will keep her memory alive + inspire others to be similarly resilient + uncompromising in their work. pic.twitter.com/dm4sChsaAc
— David Casa (@DavidCasaMEP) December 17, 2019
“Daphne Caruana Galizia was a first class investigative journalist. She was courageous and fearless. She was assassinated because of her investigative work. She is an inspiration. Daphne must never be forgotten. The risks to investigative journalists are great and are on the increase. We must strive to ensure that they are allowed to work free from fear or favour,” they said.
“It is our hope that this prize will inspire others to be brave, resilient and uncompromising in their search for truth – just like Daphne,” Hautala and Casa added.
Caruana Galizia had written extensively about corruption, money laundering, organised crime, sale of citizenships and the Panama Papers with links to the Maltese government. Due to her work, she was subjected to harassment and threats for three decades.
As Members of the European Parliament’s Bureau Working Group on Information and Communication Policy, Hautala and Casa will now be responsible, among others, to define the rules of the ‘Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for Investigative Journalism’, which will then be approved by the Bureau.
Casa said: “In the past weeks, I have made constant pressure to ensure that what Parliament voted for in the aftermath of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder is implemented. The European Parliament was always on the forefront in the protection of journalists, as well as to ensure that corruption and money laundering cases revealed by such journalists are investigated and those involved are brought to justice.”
“The latest revelations on the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, implicating the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta, are shocking. The Office of the Prime Minister is not only implicated in the assassination itself, but also in alleged obstruction of justice as well as a cover-up in relation to the murder. These are reasons for the Prime Minister to leave office today,” Casa insisted.