The Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) strongly condemns and is deeply shocked by the murder of the Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Caruana Galizia was killed on 16 October by a car bomb near her family home. She was an investigative journalist who exposed many cases of corruption and other crimes involving leading Maltese politicians and business people. She led the Panama Papers investigation in Malta. Her blog Running Commentary was one of the most widely read information sources in the country.
The 2016 Media Pluralism Monitor report for Malta specifically noted the difficult situation she faced after a court on 8 February 2017 upheld a request by Maltese Economy Minister Chris Cardona and his consultant Joe Gerada to issue garnishee orders alongside four libel suits they had filed against her. Her bank accounts were frozen with precautionary warrants for almost 50,000 Euro. These types of decisions have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and present a serious risk for media pluralism.
Unfortunately, the horrific murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia shows that killings of journalists still happen even in European Union countries.
Freedom of expression and independent journalism are the cornerstones of our democracies. As European citizens we feel that what happened in Malta is a terrible wound to the fundamentals of our free and peaceful societies.
It is of the utmost importance to take action to avoid cases like this terrible one in Malta. We, therefore, stress the importance of the Council of Europe Recommendation on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors (CM/Rec(2016)4): in a democratic society, the State must guarantee an enabling environment for journalists that means not only the negative obligation to refrain from the intentional and unlawful taking of life, but also the positive obligation to take appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of those within its jurisdiction. Moreover “the authorities should pay attention to the vulnerable position in which journalists who cover politically sensitive topics place themselves vis-à-vis those in power”.
The CMPF calls for a thorough, exhaustive, impartial and independent investigation.
Justice for this horrible murder! No impunity in the European Union!