A new annual awards ceremony was launched on Tuesday with the aim of celebrating investigative journalists who “defend democracy, the rule of law and human rights” within the EU – the prize carries the name of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who was assassinated by a car bomb a few metres away from her home on 16 October 2017.
The award, which consists of a prize of €20,000, will be awarded at the discretion of an independent jury whose task will be to select the best piece of investigative journalism that is submitted on the EU parliament’s website.
The ceremony will be held on 16 October, a symbolic date that is meant to ensure the price Caruana Galizia’s paid to reveal the truth is never forgotten.
Speaking at the official launch at the Brussels press club, her son Matthew Caruana Galizia expressed his gratitude towards the EU parliament for “fighting hard to push for justice for my mother”.
He also referred to how the prize was supported by every political group within the EU parliament. “You are actually proving my mother wrong, in a way. She thought that all the harassment that she endured would discourage others from not just going into journalism but also from doing the kind of investigative work she was doing”.
“What I hope is that this prize will undo that and further encourage journalists, who are already doing a lot to continue that kind of work. That would be really significant,” Matthew Caruana Galizia added.
Another speaker at the event was Ernest Sagaga, from the International Federation of Journalists. “In our mission statement, we say that there is no press freedom when journalists live in fear,” he said.
“Ever since October 2017, on that day in which reports broke out about the killing of our colleague, Daphne Caruana Galizia, my organisation and others have joined her family to seek justice not just for her assassination but for the values she stood for,” Sagaga added.
He also spoke of the increasing “risks and threats to media freedom”, including within the EU.
“Since 1990, we have documented over 2,000 killings across the world, all of which were journalists killed in work-related circumstances,” he said.“Every year, I compile a report of these deaths. I can tell you that while Europe fares better than most of the rest of the world when it comes to media freedom and protection of journalists, it is getting worse,” he added.
Over the past six years, the international federation of journalists recorded 51 killings within the EU zone, including Daphne Caruana Galizia. 16 journalists were killed in the first six months of 2021 alone.