Maltese journalist killed in devastating car bombing

Published On October 17, 2017 | By Jacob Phillips | Crime, International, News

Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia poses outside the Libyan Embassy in Valletta April 6, 2011. Investigative journalist Caruana Galizia was killed after a powerful bomb blew up a car killing her in Bidnija, Malta, in October 16, 2017. Picture taken April 6, 2011. (REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi)

By: Tyson Lautenschlager

Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese journalist, wrote a blog post on Monday that was particularly harsh towards the Maltese government and its prime minister Joseph Muscat.

Half an hour later, Galizia’s car blew up in a bomb blast that killed her.

Galizia was known as one of Malta’s best investigative journalists. She was one of many journalists who worked on the Panama Papers investigation that helped bring light to the corruption and money laundering in offshore bank accounts among politicians worldwide.

Most recently, she revealed Muscat, and two of his aides, had connecting offshore companies linked to them with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

Her son, an investigative journalist himself, wrote in a haunting Facebook post that his mom was “assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it, like many strong journalists.”

In 2016 alone, 127 journalists were killed worldwide solely for expressing their right to free expression, something the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and other organizations globally aim to change.

“It’s incredibly concerning and dangerous when reporters are targeted in this way,” Duncan Pike, the co-director of CJFE told Humber News. “This is something we’re seeing a growing trend of across the world. Reporters being targeted for their reporting, and especially when their reporting is so important and hard-hitting as [Galizia’s].

“It’s horrific. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” Pike said. “The people who are responsible have to be brought to justice and the government has to devote everything and all resources to investigating who is responsible. They need to make sure those responsible are punished to the fullest extent of the law. This is a murder of a woman and an individual and an assault on a basic principle of democracy and civil society.”

Despite having several conflicts with Galizia, Muscat also condemned the attack, calling it “an attack on press freedom.”

“Everyone knows Ms. Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine, both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way,” Muscat said in a press conference.

The Minister for Home Affairs and National Security for Malta said the United States is sending the FBI to investigate the bombing.

Galizia’s son has called Malta’s prime minister and the police complicit, going as far as saying they are “responsible for this.” While Pike believes they may not have perpetuated the attack, he said it’s important that those responsible are brought to justice.

“When these physical attacks and murders against journalists happen, quite often, the people responsible are not brought into any justice or into any accountability for their crimes,” he said. “There’s a crisis of impunity happening around the world for attacks against journalists.

“Quite a lot of the time, this is happening in developing countries where in general the rule of law isn’t as strong. For it to happen in a country like Malta is surprising, but certainly not unheard of. When journalists are attacked this way, it undermines the rule of law and it undermines democracy.”

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