The ongoing protest for truth and justice for assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia is, among other things, a protest about “the state’s attempt at killing journalism,” Therese Comodini Cachia said on Monday.
Addressing the monthly vigil for the journalist in Valletta, this 16 May marking 55 months since the murder, the former Nationalist MP and lawyer of the Caruana Galizia family gave an impassioned speech about the threatened state of journalism and activism in Malta.
“If we truly love our children and our country and wish to see it mature the only moving on that we can do is to continue developing an enabling space for independent journalism and activism and continue to fight any government which wants to silence journalism and activism,” she said.
“That is why our protest, our struggle is not over. Because our struggle is not only about a woman, but it is about the State’s attempt at killing journalism; it is about the State’s political participation in the murder of a journalist and the State’s continued policy to poison our watchdogs.”
Comodini Cachia highlighted several instances in which the government has shown contempt for those seeking the truth.
“How many questions raised by journalists and activists go unanswered? How many questions raised by journalists are answered dismissively?… how often do ministers, indeed the Prime Minister, sit for an interview with journalists who have their own questions to raise?” she asked.
She said that it is only those in power who benefit from such a lack of information in the public domain.
“It is only by controlling which information reaches people, and by controlling how messages reach people that the government avoids scrutiny. Only in this way can the government rob us of the truth and justice we look for.”
Turning to the government media reform proposals, of which Comodini Cachia has been a vociferous critic, she said that the proposals “expose exactly the contempt with which this government holds journalism, freedom of expression, access to information and diversity of opinion.”
“This fight needs to see that an enabling environment for journalists and activists truly takes shape and becomes entrenched in our laws, in our culture, in our society,” she said.
Other speakers at the vigil included Repubblika members Rosette Thake and Manuel Delia and former Director of the Department for the Equal Status of Women, Angela Callus.
In her speech, Callus recalled the start of Caruana Galizia’s career, which coincided with Callus’ professional participation in women’s rights. She said that at that time, in the 80s, women did not participate much in public life.
“It was positively significant that with the establishment of an entity that worked specifically in favour of women’s equality, there also emerged in the sphere of journalism a young Maltese woman who had the courage to comment on our country’s political scene without beating around the bush,” she said.
Press Freedom iNGOs reiterate call for justice
On the anniversary of Caruana Galizia’s assassination on Monday, international press freedom organisations also reiterated their call for justice for the journalist. In a post on Twitter, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) called for an “end to impunity for her assassination”.
Today marks 55 months since the brutal murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia in a car bomb attack in Malta. Our thoughts are with Daphne’s family, friends & colleagues who are still fighting for justice. We once again reiterate our call for an end to impunity for her assassination. pic.twitter.com/7CDDUO6Apo
— European Centre for Press & Media Freedom (@ECPMF) May 16, 2022
Reporters Without Borders’ Director of Operations and Campaigns Rebecca Vincent also renewed the press freedom group’s commitment in calling for justice for the journalist. “We’re not going anywhere until justice is fully served,” she wrote.