The US Embassy paid tribute to murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in a video message by Charge d’Affaires Mark Schapiro on social media to mark World Press Freedom Day.
Schapiro said Caruana Galizia “paid the ultimate price for her work in exposing corruption”. The journalist was brutally killed on 16 October 2017 by a car bomb.
Stressing the media’s fundamental role was to hold power to account, Schapiro announced the US Embassy had selected The Shift’s founder and managing editor, Caroline Muscat, for the Woman of Courage award.
“Caroline is an investigative journalist and passionate advocate for freedom of the press and respect for the rule of law. Through The Shift News, Caroline and her colleagues highlight issues of interest to the public and help hold individuals and authorities to account,” Schapiro said.
On #WorldPressFreedomDay, access to free information is more important than ever in a #COVID19 world. Remembering #DaphneCaruanaGalizia, and presenting our #WomanofCourage Award to another journalist, @muscatcar – congrats! This is #USAinMT @MaltaGov @MFEAMalta pic.twitter.com/DUeoQ72jV7
— Gwendolyn “Wendy” Green (@USAmbMalta) May 3, 2020
“In this pandemic environment, this is more important than ever. We appreciate the media’s role in debunking conspiracy theories and providing accurate information.”
Press freedom organisations sent a strong message on World Press Freedom Day, reminding governments of the need to protect press freedom: “Governments are supposed to serve as protectors, not predators of a free press”.
The theme chosen for World Press Freedom Day this year is ‘Journalism without Fear or Favour’.
In 2019, Caroline Muscat also received the International Press Freedom Award for Independence from Reporters Without Borders for her work against corruption with The Shift News and for refusing to back down “despite massive pressure”.