The murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has left the people of the Mediterranean island in shock. The 53-year-old, who wrote about corruption across Malta’s political divides on her blog, died in an attack on Monday when a powerful bomb blew up her car near her home.
Around 3,000 people held a silent, candle-lit vigil on Monday night in Sliema, just outside the capital Valletta.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and opposition leader Adrian Delia – who had both been criticised on Galizia’s blog – both condemned the killing.
Recently, the journalist had been following up leads from information in the so-called Panama Papers, a large collection of documents from an offshore law firm in the Central American nation that were leaked in 2015.
Matthew Vella, the Editor of MaltaToday – an online newspaper the journalist contributed to – told euronews Galizia’s murder was “a tragedy… a dark day for democracy”.
“People talk about her as being a controversial journalist, definitely a brave journalist, courageous most of the time, reckless too… and definitely she crossed swords with the political establishment. She garnered opprobrium from many different quarters, both political as well as non-political areas of Maltese life – and in many respects she was a household name,” he said.
“Daphne Caruana Galizia was the first one to break the Panama Papers (story)… there was a slew of libel cases and defamation cases against her. But even a year after the Panama Papers Daphne Caruana Galizia was still writing about leaks from Malta’s Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit into checks into a private bank in Malta and allegations of kickbacks and money laundering dealing with Malta’s political establishment. The allegations were then so serious that the prime minister (Joseph Muscat) ordered a magisterial inquiry, and it’s still ongoing today.
“How can such an attack happen in 2017 in a liberal democracy in a European Union country? The murder does raise questions about the culture of impunity which sometimes goes unchecked in Malta, and it does raise questions about security in Malta, and security for the press. Never could we have believed that something of this sort would happen, Mafia-style, to a journalist – especially an assiduous journalist who has covered some big stories. And that is the impression that one gets – that Daphne Caruana Galizia might have been prevented from putting her finger on her next big story.”
The full interview with Matthew Vella is available here: