‘Labour hate groups led online dehumanisation campaign against Caruana Galizia’

Daphne Caruana Galizia was a victim of a 30-year-long dehumanisation campaign, The Shift’s founder Caroline Muscat told Al Jazeera journalist Flo Phillips in a short documentary published on Sunday. 

The story and legacy of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia were featured on Al Jazeera’s The Listening Post.

Speaking about The Shift’s investigation into secret online hate groups, which included the membership of former President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and Joseph Muscat, then prime minister, Muscat explained that the members were “encouraged to put photos of Caruana Galizia” where she was often “depicted as a witch”.

An investigation by The Shift into six of the biggest pro-Muscat Facebook groups – numbering 60,000 members – found coordinated attacks on anti-corruption activists, Caruana Galizia and her family, including calls for sexual violence.

Caruana Galizia’s son, Matthew, told The Listening Post of the attacks on his family since he was a child. They included an attempt to set the family home on fire while they were sleeping, and the throat of their pet dog slit.

“There will eventually come a time when there will be an opportunity for accountability, and when that time comes, we will have to rely on work that was done by journalists like my mother. And I think that all this work that she did has really proven her right,” Caruana Galizia said.

He also recounted what happened on the day of her murder on October 16, 2017 when he last saw his mother before she got into the car and, minutes later, heard the explosion.

Journalist Mark Zammit said that Caruana Galizia’s stories were so surreal at times that “we may have thought it was all too big to be true”.

“Maybe that is where some of us were wrong, that we didn’t really believe everything she said,” he said. “We are now learning that they are all true,” he added. Zammit said that since the murder, a new wave of energy and interest in politics has been generated.

Noting that Caruana Galizia had lost her life in the process of this happening, Phillips asked what his thoughts were. “As Maltese, we realised a little too late, but I believe it is better late than never,” Zammit said.

The Listening Post is described as reporting on the “best in journalism, as well as the worst of what passes for news in countries where State-run television monopolises the airwaves”.

Phillips said that the Caruana Galizia’s stories reshaped Malta’s political landscape and that her revelations are “all anyone in the Maltese media talk about”.

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