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17.10.2017

Daphne Caruana Galizia murder: ECPMF urges Maltese government to launch independent inquiry

ECPMF strongly condemns the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The Maltese investigative journalist who was part of the investigative team researching the Panama Papers, was killed by a car bomb on Monday afternoon.

Daphne Caruana Galizia Daphne Caruana Galizia (copyright: daphnecaruanagalizia.com)

Investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb on October 16th, 2017 in Malta. Her vehicle exploded shortly after she left her home in the afternoon.

"The barbaric murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia is an attack on journalism itself," says Lutz Kinkel, Managing Director of ECPMF. “This crime is meant to intimidate every investigative journalist. Because Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and parts of Malta’s political elite were targets of Caruana Galizia's disclosures, we strongly recommend an independent investigation of this case. The killers have to be found and put on trial."

Caruana Galizia was part of the ICIJ investigation that became known as the Panama Papers. Her research also linked Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife to secret offshore bank accounts.

"Malta's journalists are in a state of shock. This murder has a chilling effect on everyone here," a former colleague tells the ECPMF. "Something like this has never happened before, something like this against the journalists in Malta." Another colleague of Caruana Galizia urges the necessity of an international investigation of the murder by the EU: "I believe only international investigators could find the truth. If it will be left to the locals, it is highly possible that this crime will pass unpunished".

The authorities in Malta have failed to respond to Caruana Galizia's calls for protection 

In March 2017 Caruana Galizia was sued by a Maltese restaurant owner after publishing a blog post linking him to the drugs trade. ECPMF reported that she won the case when the magistrate decided her story was in the public interest. 

Caruana Galizia had been threatened repeatedly, but was obviously not sufficiently protected by the Maltese police. According to the European Charter for Press and Media Freedom (art. 5) and international law (Council of Europe's fact sheet on journalism and safety of journalists), every state has a positive obligation to safeguard journalists. The authorities are obliged to "prevent or suppress offences against journalists when they know, or should have known, of the existence of a real and immediate risk to the life or physical integrity of these individuals from the criminal acts of a third party. To achieve this, Member States should take appropriate preventative operational measures, such as providing police protection."

"The authorities in Malta have failed to respond to Caruana Galizia's calls for protection and they should be held accountable for her death. If her relatives should start litigation to hold Malta's authorities accountable, the ECPMF pledges financial support", says ECPMF's legal affairs advisor Flutura Kusari. "The ECPMF calls on the authorities to take all necessary steps to bring the perpetrators to justice, whether or not they are state actors." 

"All journalists should roll up their sleeves and keep on doing their work"

"We unreservedly condemn the brutal murder of journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia who was killed yesterday afternoon in a car bomb explosion", writes the Insitute of Maltese Journalists (IGM). "Her murder has shocked the journalistic community in Malta as they feel this undermines their right to freedom of expression. The Institute of Maltese Journalists feels that this is a sad day for democracy in Malta and urges the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice. IGM believes that all journalists should roll up their sleeves and keep on doing their work with determination and without fear or prejudice."





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