October 16 2017 (VALLETTA, MALTA) – Daphne Caruana Galizia — Malta’s best-known investigative journalist — was killed on Monday (October 16 2017) when a powerful bomb blew up her car. Galizia was 53 and leaves a husband and three sons. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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UPDATE (October 16 2021) — The report into the Israeli-based NSO Group provided further evidence that its malware was used to spy on journalists, human rights activists, and political dissidents.
The Pegasus Project research was coordinated by the Paris-based journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories, and the human rights group Amnesty International, and was shared with 16 news organisations.
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Journalists were able to identify more than 1,000 individuals — including at least 180 journalists — in 50 countries who were allegedly selected by NSO clients for potential surveillance.
Responding to the news that the European Parliament’s Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism has been awarded to the Forbidden Stories Consortium for the Pegasus Project, Eve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office said:
“It’s vital that EU countries address these abuses, protect journalists and rights defenders, and ensure robust and meaningful regulation over the cybersurveillance industry both at home and abroad.
Victims of unlawful targeted surveillance must be provided with effective remedy and perpetrators for the violations – including Governments using Pegasus spyware – should be held to account.”
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The United States Embassy has called for a “thorough, transparent, timely, and credible conclusion” to the investigations into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
“We reiterate that strong judicial processes and accountability are essential to the just conclusion to this case, which will reassure journalists everywhere that their voices are valued.
The United States strongly supports the rule of law and the vital role of a free and independent press around the world. We condemn those who would employ violence to silence dissenting voices,” the embassy said in a statement.
One man has been convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison after admitting his involvement in the crime but proceedings against six others are continuing, including the alleged mastermind Yorgen Fenech.
END of UPDATE
UPDATE (July 28 2021) — Inquiry finds Malta government responsible for Daphne Caruana’s murder — The final report of an independent inquiry conducted by a team of judges into the murder of the anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was released today.
The 437-page report concluded that the state “failed to recognise the real and immediate risks” to her life and “failed to take reasonable steps to avoid them”.
The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation said the report was a landmark moment in the campaign to hold the state accountable for its obligation to protect journalists.
“This is a historic opportunity to ensure real change for the safety of journalists and to a process of national healing following the traumatic assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia,” it said.
Malta’s former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tried to distance his administration from “the state of impunity” mentioned in the report and pointed the finger at previous administrations.
“I maintain that there was impunity in cases before my term in office, where high profile crimes were committed but nobody was ever prosecuted.”
END of UPDATE
UPDATE (October 16 2020) – Daphne Caruana Galizia has become the symbol of a decades-long struggle in Europe and beyond – on the one hand, we have the journalists who are killed to be silenced and their families’ long fight for justice and, on the other, the authorities, who so frequently take such an ineffective or passive approach towards their obligations to investigate, identify and punish the hitmen and the masterminds.
“The climate of impunity that surrounds the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia flies in the face of Malta’s human rights obligations to carry out prompt, independent and effective investigations, open to public scrutiny and accessible to the victims’ families, and designed to punish the perpetrators and the masterminds of killings.
On top of this, the family still faces dozens of specious libel lawsuits which were filed against Daphne Caruana Galizia, including by government officials. And investigations are being hampered by political interference, including attempts to cut short the ongoing public inquiry.
The clock is ticking for Malta’s authorities, making it a top priority to uncover the truth about this brutal murder. As a first step, the authorities should ensure the independence of the public inquiry.
Establishing accountability for her death is the only way justice can be served for Daphne and for Malta’s human rights obligations towards its people and its international partners to be honoured. This is something that is owed first and foremost to her family and fellow journalists but there is also an important obligation to uphold media freedom and keep journalists safe.”
[Truth and Justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia — Council of Europe (October 16 2020)]
The Daphne Project, an international reporting collaboration that includes the Guardian, Forbidden Stories, Reuters and the Times of Malta.
The last piece — Justice on trial: three years after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia — is a must read.
Today, on the third anniversary of her death, the European Parliament has launched a journalism prize in tribute to Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for Journalism will reward outstanding journalism reflecting EU values.
“The Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize will recognise the essential role that journalists play in preserving our democracies and serve as a reminder to citizens of the importance of a free press. This prize is designed to help journalists in the vital and often dangerous work they do and show that the European Parliament supports investigative journalists,” said Parliament Vice-President Heidi Hautala.
The €20,000 annual prize will be awarded as of October 2021 to journalists or teams of journalists based in the European Union. Candidates and the eventual laureate will be chosen by an independent panel.
That is of course very nice, but… Caruana Galizia was assassinated three years ago. What has been done to protect other bloggers like her? Short answer. Nothing.
END of UPDATE
Daphne Caruana Galizia, a blogger whose investigations focused on corruption, was described as a ‘one-woman WikiLeaks’.
Her blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe’s smallest member state.
Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.[The Guardian]
She was murdered by a car bomb explosion in her rented Peugeot 108 close to her home in Bidnija on 16 October 2017.
The journalist posted her final blog on her Running Commentary website at 2:35pm on Monday, and the explosion, which occurred near her home, was reported to police just after 3pm.
The large explosion left the vehicle scattered in several pieces across nearby fields. She was found by her son Matthew, after he heard a blast from their home.
Caruana Galizia had reportedly filed a police report saying that she was being threatened about two weeks before her death. The perpetrator is currently unknown.
Malta has asked for international help – including from UK and US police forces – to find the perpetrator.
Galizia’s mantra is simple: blog relentlessly about the “cronyism that is accepted as something normal here. I can’t bear to see people like that rewarded.”
Nothing scandalous is too big or too small, be it false declarations of residency by the beneficiaries of Malta’s cash-for-passports scheme or the evening-wear decisions of the prime minister’s wife. [Politico]
Maltese investigative journalist killed in car bomb
UPDATE (January 12 2018) — The assassination in Malta of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017 put the island in the headlines.
The powerful car bomb used to kill the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was detonated by a mobile phone signal sent from a boat off the island’s coast.
Three brothers – George and Alfred Degiorgio, aged 55 and 53, and Vincent Muscat, 55 – have been charged with murder and pleaded not guilty. But it is still unclear who commissioned her assassination?
Meanwhile, Jonathan Ferris — a former anti-corruption investigator in Malta — is seeking full police protection amid concerns he could be targeted after looking into her claims against top political figures.
Ferris fears for his life. He is seeking full police protection and has threatened to reveal information he discovered should something happen to him.
“Following 16 October, and what happened to Daphne Caruana Galizia, I divided my work and my information into six different envelopes with specific notes,” he said.
“They are distributed to six members of family and close friends, and should something happen to me abruptly – say I’m killed – all that information will go public at once.”
John Sweeney, who reported on the story for Newsnight in the immediate aftermath, has been back to Malta to look into the stories Caruana Galizia was covering before her death and to speak to Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
UPDATE (October 16 2018) — Police believe the person who commissioned Caruana Galizia’s murder is still at large, and the investigation represents a major test for Malta, its judiciary and police.
On 5 October 2018, Malta’s highest court ruled that the investigation had breached the requirement of independence imposed by Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This was due to the fact that the deputy commissioner leading the investigation, as well as his government minister wife, had been subjects of criticism in Caruana Galizia’s journalism.
The magisterial investigation into those who commissioned the bombing is entirely dependent on police evidence. Caruana Galizia’s family lawyer Tony Murphy tells The Independent that this meant that the magistrate “is being asked to use the fruit of a poisoned tree in his investigation”.
In August, Caruana Galizia’s family presented a 24-page legal opinion to the Maltese High Commission in London which called for a public inquiry and accused Malta of failing to institute any inquiry into whether the state bears responsibility for her death.
UPDATE (October 16 2019) — Three men accused of planting and triggering the explosive were arrested weeks after the incident. They are awaiting trial. But the individuals who ordered the assassination are still at large.
Pieter Omtzigt, a special rapporteur for the Council of Europe, is concerned that Maltese authorities may have turned down evidence that could lead to those who commissioned the killing.
” [T]he approach of the police force as a whole, and of the politicians responsible for it, does not match the prime minister’s promise to leave no stone unturned.”
“I am concerned that the authorities may have turned down evidence that could lead to whoever ordered the murder.
“And I am also worried that neither Mr Muscat [one of the three alleged hitmen] nor his lawyer, nor others who may be concerned by this situation – including the alleged intermediary – have been provided with adequate protection.”
In September 2018, Malta attempted to have Omtzigt removed from the investigation…
In November 2017, the European Parliament held a minute’s silence to honour the memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The media room of the European Parliament in Strasbourg was named to the memory of Caruana Galizia.
Today, the European Parliament is passing laws that dictate our understanding of History.
Since when are politicians elected to write and teach History? Is it not for historians and researchers — more often than not serious bloggers — to investigate what happened?
If the European Parliament wants to fight Fake News and protect the Truth, they should let historians do their work.
If they want to honor the memory of Caruana Galizia, they should protect the bloggers. A well defined status of the bloggers in the European Union is long overdue.
The freedom of expression NGO, Article 19, has published a policy paper on the “Right to Blog” [pdf].
Article 19 proposes a set of recommendations to state actors and policy makers about what they should do to promote and protect the rights of bloggers domestically and internationally. [Article 19 and the “Right to Blog”]
“States must take reasonable steps to protect bloggers and other individuals actively engaged in online communities when they know or ought to know of the existence of a real and immediate risk to the life of an identified blogger as a result of the criminal acts of a third party.”
Caruana Galizia was assassinated two years ago. What has been done to protect other bloggers like her? In short: Nothing.
END of UPDATE
Daphne Caruana Galizia — Wikipedia
“The best way to think of Daphne Caruana Galizia is as a one-woman WikiLeaks, crusading against untransparency and corruption in Malta, an island nation famous for both. To John Dalli, a former European commissioner whom she helped bring down in a tobacco lobbying scandal, Galizia is ‘a terrorist.’ To opposition MPs, she’s a political force of nature, one who fortunately has her guns aimed at the other side of the aisle. ‘She single-handedly brought the government to the verge of collapse,’ says one MP. “
Denise Nestor — POLITICO (October 2017)
“It appears that absolutely nothing is happening. When we asked for updates, the response from the prosecutor [who is also the attorney general] was to mock us publicly, saying that they cannot provide a ‘running commentary’ – that was the name of my mother’s blog. It appears that there is a complete cover up and a complete lack of will to investigate the motive for the assassination and the people who ordered it.”
Journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia (October 2018)
“A year of soul-searching, monthly demonstrations and revelations that ebb and flow in Italian media have not brought Malta much closer to finding the truth about the murder. Arrests of three suspects have not led to the masterminds. The memorial in front of the court has become an unlikely battleground to define how to remember the slain journalist, who focused on nepotism, corruption, and anything she considered to be in bad taste in those close to power.”
Deutsche Welle (October 2018)
Maltese Investigative Blogger Killed in Car Bomb
One Year Ago — Maltese Investigative Blogger Killed in Car Bomb
Two Years Ago — Maltese Investigative Blogger Killed in Car Bomb [Daphne Caruana Galizia]
Three Years Ago — Maltese Investigative Blogger Killed in Car Bomb [Daphne Caruana Galizia]
Three Years Ago — Maltese Investigative Blogger Killed in Car Bomb [UPDATE : Inquiry finds Malta government responsible for Daphne Caruana’s murder]
Four Years Ago — Maltese Investigative Blogger Killed in Car Bomb [UPDATE : Pegasus Project awarded the 2021 Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for Journalism]