Malta marks 5 years since the killing of a top investigative journalist

by | Oct 16, 2022 | Top Stories

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People attend a gathering to remember Daphne Caruana Galizia, at La Valletta, in Malta. Malta is marking the fifth anniversary of the car bomb slaying of the investigative journalist.

Rene’ Rossignaud/AP

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Rene’ Rossignaud/AP

VALLETTA, Malta — Malta on Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of the car bomb slaying of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, with calls for justice and praise for the courage of a woman whose death shocked Europe and exposed a culture of impunity on the Mediterranean island nation. Over 1,000 Maltese residents joined Caruana Galizia’s relatives, activists and the Maltese president of the European Parliament in a nighttime march and vigil at a makeshift memorial opposite Valletta’s law courts. Also on hand was the sister of Italy’s crusading anti-Mafia investigator, Giovanni Falcone, who was himself assassinated by the mob in a highway bombing in Sicily in 1992. The anniversary came just two days after two key suspects reversed course on the first day of their trial and pleaded guilty to carrying out the murder. But other cases are still pending in Maltese courts and both the government and opposition leaders have called for justice to be delivered. Caruana Galizia had written extensively about suspected corruption in political and business circles in the EU nation, and was killed Oct. 16, 2017, when a bomb placed under her car detonated as she was driving near her home. The murder shocked Europe and triggered angry protests in Malta.

A 2021 public inquiry report found that the Maltese state “has to bear responsibility” for the murder because of the culture of impunity that emanated from the highest levels of government. But as recently as last month, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights had decried the “lack of effective results in establishing accountability.” During the nighttime vigil, one of Caruana Galizia’s nieces, Megan Mallia, read out a message on behalf of her family that said the assassination of an anti-corruption investigative journalist such as her aunt “robs people of their right to understand the reality in which they live.” The men who ended Daphne’s life knew this, she said. “They feared neither the country’s authorities, nor their own conscience. They feared the thousands of people who chose to light a candle to drive away the darkness.”

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Mandy Mallia, sister of late journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, lights candles in front of a picture of her sister in Valletta, Malta, on Friday.

Jonathan Borg/AP

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Jonathan Borg/AP

Caruana Galizia, 53, was a top Maltese investigative journalist who had targeted people in then-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s inner circle whom she accused of having offshore companies in tax havens disclosed in the Panama Papers leak. She also targeted the opposition. When she was killed, she was facing more than 40 libel suits. “Throughout her life, Daphne Caruana Galizia always followed one principle i …

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