International press freedom groups condemn killing of Maltese investigative journalist

Sixteen press freedom groups condemn the killing of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and demand an immediate and independent investigation into her death.

«The mur­der of a pro­mi­nent investi­ga­ti­ve jour­na­list in broad day­light in an EU Mem­ber Sta­te under­sco­res the serious­ness of this cri­me. Daph­ne Carua­na Galizia’s work as a jour­na­list to hold power to account and shi­ne a light on cor­rup­tion is vital to main­tai­ning our democra­tic insti­tu­tions. Her kil­ling is a loss for her coun­try and for Euro­pe», Hann­ah Mach­lin, pro­ject mana­ger for Index on Censorship’s data plat­form Map­ping Media Free­dom, said.

Daph­ne Carua­na Galizia was kil­led when the car she was dri­ving explo­ded in Bidni­ja around 15.00 on 16 Octo­ber in what is thought to have been a  targe­ted attack..

«The bar­ba­ric mur­der of Daph­ne Carua­na Galizia is an attack on jour­na­lism itself. This cri­me is meant to inti­mi­da­te eve­ry investi­ga­ti­ve jour­na­list,» Dr Lutz Kin­kel, Mana­ging Direc­tor of the Euro­pean Cent­re for Press and Media Free­dom, said.

«Becau­se Pri­me Minis­ter Joseph Mus­cat and parts of Malta’s poli­ti­cal eli­te were tar­gets of Galizia’s dis­closu­res, we strong­ly recom­mend an inde­pen­dent investi­ga­tion of this case. The kil­lers have to be found and put on trial.»

Investi­ga­ti­ve jour­na­list Daph­ne Carua­na Galizia,killed by a car bomb on Octo­ber 16 2017 (photo: daphnecaruanagalizia.com)

The blast left her vehicle in seve­r­al pie­ces and threw debris into a near­by field. Half an hour before the power­ful explo­sion, the jour­na­list pos­ted a com­ment about a libel claim the pri­me minister’s chief of staff had brought against a for­mer oppo­sition lea­der over com­ments the lat­ter made about corruption.

Galizia filed a police report 16 days ago say­ing she was being threatened.

Galizia had con­ducted a series of high pro­fi­le cor­rup­tion investi­ga­tions and has been sub­ject to dozens of libel suits and har­ass­ment. Becau­se of her rese­arch, in Februa­ry, assets were fro­zen following a request filed by Eco­no­mic Minis­ter Chris Car­dona and his EU pre­si­dency poli­cy offi­cer Joseph Gerada.

On 24 August oppo­sition lea­der Adri­an Delia filed a law­suit against her over sto­ries lin­king him to off­shore accounts total­ling to £1 mil­lion earned from alleged pro­sti­tu­tion in Lon­don flats. On 11 March Sil­vio Debono, owner of the real esta­te invest­ment com­pany DB Group, filed 19 libel cases against her after Carua­na Galizia pub­lis­hed a num­ber of artic­les about his deals with the Mal­te­se govern­ment to take over a lar­ge tra­ct of high value pub­lic land.

Galizia also con­ducted an investi­ga­tion lin­king the Pri­me Minis­ter Joseph Mus­cat and his wife Michel­le to secret off­shore bank accounts to allegedly hide pay­ments from Azerbaijan’s ruling fami­ly, which were unvei­led in the Pan­a­ma Papers. She wor­ked on this investi­ga­tion with her son Matt­hew Carua­na Galizia, a jour­na­list for the Pulit­zer prize win­ning Inter­na­tio­nal Con­sor­ti­um of Investi­ga­ti­ve Jour­na­lists, who has had his posts on alle­ga­tions of wrongdo­ing by Pri­me Minis­ter Joseph Mus­cat and his associa­tes cen­so­red on Face­bo­ok.

On 17 Octo­ber 2017, her fami­ly filed an urgent appli­ca­tion for the Duty Magist­rate Con­sue­lo Scer­ri Her­re­ra to abs­tain from investi­ga­ting Carua­na Galizia’s mur­der becau­se of the court’s “flag­rant con­flict of inte­rest”. In 2011, the magist­rate ini­tia­ted court proce­e­dings against the jour­na­list over com­ments she had made about Magist­rate Herrera.

Seven reports of vio­la­tions of press free­dom were veri­fied in Mal­ta in 2017, accor­ding to Index on Censorship’s Map­ping Media Free­dom pro­ject. Five of those are lin­ked to Carua­na Galizia and her family.

The mur­der has brought wide­spre­ad condem­na­tion from the inter­na­tio­nal com­mu­ni­ty inclu­ding state­ments from Coun­cil of Euro­pe Secre­ta­ry Gene­ral Thor­bjørn Jag­land and OSCE’s Media Free­dom Repre­sen­ta­ti­ve Har­lem Désir.

We, the under­sig­ned press free­dom orga­ni­sa­tions call for:

  • An inde­pen­dent and trans­pa­rent investi­ga­tion into the kil­ling of Daph­ne Carua­na Galizia
  • Pro­tec­tion for her fami­ly mem­bers and for other Mal­te­se jour­na­lists who have been under threat
  • Measu­res to pro­tect the environ­ment for inde­pen­dent and cri­ti­cal jour­na­lism to ensure that repor­ters can work freely

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Article 19 

The Associa­tion of Euro­pean Jour­na­lists (AEJ)  

The Cen­ter for Investi­ga­ti­ve Reporting 

Com­mittee to Pro­tect Journalists 

The Euro­pean Cent­re for Press and Media Freedom

The Euro­pean Federa­tion of Jour­na­lists (EFJ) 

Free­dom of the Press Foundation

Index on Censorship 

Inter­na­tio­nal News Safety Insti­tute (INSI) 

Inter­na­tio­nal Federa­tion of Jour­na­lists (IFJ) 

Inter­na­tio­nal Press Insti­tute (IPI) 

Osser­va­to­rio Bal­ca­ni e Cau­caso Trans­euro­pa (OBCT) 

Ossi­geno per I’nformazione 

Plat­form of Inde­pen­dent Jour­na­lism (P24) 

Repor­ters Sans Fron­ti­eres (RSF) 

South East Euro­pe Media Orga­ni­sa­tion (SEEMO) 

TEMA

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