Activists seeking justice for assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have managed to achieve tremendous, tangible progress, International Campaign Director for Reporters without Borders (RSF) Rebecca Vincent said on occasion of 42 months since the murder.
Vincent sent a video message encouraging and thanking activists in Malta who have kept the memory and stories written by Caruana Galizia alive.
“The progress by activists in Malta is one of the most we have seen on the killing of journalists internationally. You should be proud of your role and achievements,” she said in the message.
Today marks 42 months since the investigative journalist was murdered outside her home in Bidnija. Activists held a mass and an online vigil as they have been doing every month since the journalist’s brutal assassination by a car bomb in October 2017.
“I know it can be hard on the ground and it can look as though things are moving slowly. But several people, at least, are starting to see their days in court,” Vincent said.
This is not enough, Vincent added, saying it is not only those who were involved in the murder that need to be brought to justice, but also those involved in the corruption exposed by the journalist.
“Thank you for your effort in keeping her stories alive. You have made a difference and have inspired me and my colleagues. The world community is with you,” Vincent concluded.
Alessandra Dee Crespo from civil society organisation Repubblika reiterated calls for full justice for the journalist’s murder. “Daphne already paid with her life. It would be twice the injustice if those who murdered her get pardoned. Murders should be solved by the police, not criminals” she added, referring to the stream of pardons being requested by those accused of the crime.
Dee Crespo said that journalism in the EU has become a dangerous profession, mentioning the recent murder of veteran Greek journalist Giorgios Karavais who was killed on Monday in Greece.
She also referred to a recent decision by Magistrate Rachel Montebello to hold a journalist in contempt of court. Seven independent newsrooms in Malta, including The Shift, have expressed their concern in a joint statement.
“We are very grateful to the courageous journalists and offer our support in their search for the truth.”
Repubblika President Robert Aquilina said that had the institutions worked properly, Caruana Galizia’s blog would still be going.
“If those in power had not betrayed their oath to their country, three sons would still be able to call their mother. And for this, once again, we insist on having full justice for this brutal murder.”
He called on the Police Commissioner to clean up the police force adding that he had the opportunity to take concrete action to clean up the whole country. “If you make the right choices, rest assured that we will be behind you,” he added.
The Mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, also participated in the online event. He said that when he had visited Malta in 2019 in one particular vigil for Caruana Galizia, he was impressed by the amount of people demanding justice.
“I will never forget what I saw on that 16 October. That explosion of people demanding power, thousands of families all joined for one cause,” he said.
Orlando added that just like Palermo won over the mafia in the 80s and 90s, Malta will win in the coming years.
Artist Celia Borg Cardona, who was also a friend of the murdered journalist, said activists in Malta felt they had to keep on going even when it looked like nothing was coming out of the protests.
“The crowds at the protests grew as it became more and more apparent that what Daphne had written about for so many years was so correct and so right. Yet the institutions like the police, the Attorney General and the FIAU did nothing. These large crowds of angry people too wondered whether going out shouting into the wet streets of Valletta was of any use. And yet they did. Something compelled them,” she said.
She referred to the false allegations made against Daphne, and even Borg Cardona’s own husband who is a lawyer who shares an office with Daphne’s husband, Peter Caruana Galizia. She said people could not understand what motivated them to write despite all they faced.
“A compulsion to tell the truth as one knows it and to argue for justice when it wasn’t available,” Borg Cardona said.