The Malta Independent 24 May 2019, Friday

Lack of progress in investigation into Daphne’s murder ‘truly disturbing’ - Naomi Klein

Saturday, 10 November 2018, 13:14 Last update: about 7 months ago

Author and activist Naomi Klein said on Saturday that the authorities seem determined to try to eradicate the memory of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, as she laid flowers at the barricaded memorial in Valletta.

Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of international bestsellers.

"Today, I placed flowers and a candle at the now boarded up protest memorial before the law courts. Will the flowers be there tomorrow? The protest memorial has been destroyed - on the orders of the Minister of Justice himself - countless times and has now been completely cordoned off, blocking all protesters who wish to join the call for justice in this case."

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Klein, on behalf of PEN International, said that "such rhetoric from those in high office fans the flames of hate and encourages a climate of violence towards the media."

A critic of corporate globalisation and of capitalism, Klein went on to say "I have never witnessed this behaviour towards a murdered journalist in any other country."

The national monument dedicated to the Great Siege has been used as a memorial ever since Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder last year but has been at the centre of controversy after being repeatedly torn down and blocked off due restoration works.

She said that a year ago the murder of an investigative journalist in the heart of the EU was unthinkable. Yet in the twelve months that have followed, violence against journalists - particularly those reporting on corruption -- has spread across the region, mirroring a worldwide, escalating trend of the free press being attacked with impunity.

Herself an investigative journalist, Klein has faced intimidation, threats and harassment for her work in exposing corruption. "I have witnessed what happens in countries where my colleagues have been murdered for their work and where there has been no justice for their killings. This impunity drives a cycle of violence."

Klein expressed concern over the fact that prominent subjects of Caruana Galizia's reporting, who may bear responsibility for her death, have not been placed under formal investigation or questioned. She called the apparent lack of progress into the investigation 'truly disturbing.'

As a member of PEN, Klein called out to the authorities to immediately launch a public inquiry to establish whether Daphne Caruana Galizia's life could have been saved, and, crucially, how to protect other journalists and freedom of expression in Malta.

Klein was also interviewed by Malta Today's editor Matthew Vella on Friday evening as part of this year's Malta Book Festival. During the night she heavily criticised Justice Minister Owen Bonnici for the joke he made related to a picture hung of him at the makeshift memorial.

"What chills me is the joking. Just today, I've heard that your Justice Minister used Instagram to ask his followers if they like him better with a beard than when he was clean-shaven in the picture of him that was on the memorial wall. That communicates a message of a lack of seriousness about this crime, and when high officials act like that it sends a message that journalists are fair game. That's what's happening with Trump when he's out there every day going 'fake news, fake news, you're the enemy of the people'."

She went on to link this to the Saudi government "thinking they could do to Jamal Khashoggi what they did to him because they were hearing all this from an important ally."

Photos of Naomi Klein by Ann Demarco / Occupy Justice


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