Malta: state responsible for Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder

  • 30 Jul 2021

An independent inquiry into the murder of the investigative journalist found the Maltese state was responsible for creating a culture of impunity as it failed to take action in protecting the journalist.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomed the findings and, together with the NUJ, called for accountability and concrete reforms to protect all media professionals.

The public inquiry conducted by three judges concluded that the Maltese state created a culture of impunity and failed to recognise the real and immediate risks to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s life.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, a well-known investigative journalist, was murdered on 16 October 2017 by a car bomb in the town of Bidnija, near her family home. She had been investigating financial corruption, often involving some important political figures of Malta. She had also investigated the Panama Papers scandal.

Prior to the murder, Daphne Caruana Galizia had faced continuous harassment and occasional physical threats. She reported it but nothing was done to protect her. Today, the perpetrators of these attacks remain unpunished.

Three men were arrested for her murder in December 2017 and one of them pleaded guilty in February 2021. The other two are awaiting trial. Yorgen Fenech, a Maltese businessman, has also been charged with complicity, but denies the accusation and is also awaiting trial. Fenech, who is close to certain figures in the Maltese government, is suspected of having bribed some in the case.

According to the independent inquiry, the Maltese government, through its inaction and lack of concrete measures, had created a culture of impunity and failed in its obligation to protect journalists. In its campaign against impunity in 2018, the IFJ and EFJ had denounced the lack of independence and media concentration in Malta.

Anthony Bellanger,  IFJ general secretary said:

“We welcome the findings of the independent inquiry and hope they will prompt the Maltese state to finally take concrete steps to end impunity for crimes against media workers. Ending the culture of impunity for crimes against journalists and ensuring their safety is a precondition for good journalism and democracy.”

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