The Malta Independent 19 July 2018, Thursday

Writers’ association questions impartiality, effectiveness of journalist's murder investigation

Helena Grech Monday, 16 April 2018, 09:13 Last update: about 4 months ago

Concerns have been raised by scores of international writers about the impartiality, effectiveness and independence of the investigations surrounding slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

PEN International has written an open letter to top EU officials, namely European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Commissioner for Better Regulation, Interinstitutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights Frans Timmermans, Director of Creative Europe Michel Magnier and Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella.

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The letter was signed by over 250 influential writers, publishers and PEN members, including Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Anne Enright, Ian McEwan, Kamila Shamsie, Neil Gaiman, Eva Bonnier, Elif Shafak and Colm Tóibín, who are calling on the European Commission to ensure justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia, and for the protection of journalists and whistleblowers in Malta.

In the letter, they deal with concerns about the impartiality of investigations into the murder, when considering that some of the people investigating were often the subject of her writings. They also express grave concerns about V18 Chairman Jason Micallef, who openly mocked and ridiculed Caruana Galizia after she died, and the mountain of law suits which continue to be heard against the slain journalist.

The letter was published today, six months after the murder of Caruana Galizia’s murder.

So far, three men have been charged with the grisly murder, however it is widely believed that whoever commissioned the crime is still at large.

The international writers also expressed grave concern at the actions of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his legal time for trying to compel Caruana Galizia’s son, Matthew, to stand trial in Malta. He has received advice from independent security specialists not to return to Malta over safety fears.

“We have reason to believe that these proceedings are in direct reprisal for his mother’s work in investigating corruption within the current Maltese government,” the writers say.

Referring strongly to Jason Micallef’s actions as chairman of the Valletta 2018 Capital of Culture, such as his calls for the clearing out of the memorial in Valletta, the group called for an investigation into his actions.

“There can be no tolerance for the ridiculing of the assassination of a journalist in the heart of the EU, especially from the very authorities entrusted to promote the EU’s media and culture.”

“This is far from appropriate behaviour for an official designated to represent the European Capital of Culture, and in fact serves to further the interests of those trying to prevent an effective and impartial investigation into Caruana Galizia’s death.”

Micallef shocked many when he used the final words of Caruana Galizia on her blog right before she was blown to pieces as a caption on a picture of St Patrick’s Day festivities saying: “The situation is desperate. There [are] happy people everywhere you look”.

Her final words on her controversial blog were: “The situation is desperate. There are crooks everywhere you look now.”

A vigil is taking place this evening to commemorate the six month anniversary. Mass will be led by Archbishop Charles Scicluna at St Francis Church, Republic Street, Valletta, followed by a vigil at 7pm at the Great Siege square.

 

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