The Malta Independent 24 October 2020, Saturday

TMID Editorial: Three years - Daphne: a voice that is still strong

Friday, 16 October 2020, 07:47 Last update: about 7 days ago

The situation is desperate, Daphne Caruana Galizia wrote on her blog a few minutes before the car she was driving just outside her home in Bidnija was blown up, killing her instantly. It was the 16th of October, 2017, a day that will remain etched in the country’s history.

Three years have passed since her assassination. So much has been said and written about her. She has won, posthumously, several awards. A press room at the European Parliament has been dedicated to her. An award for investigative journalism has been named after her.

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Following her killing, she has been vindicated time and again. Scandals she revealed and wrote about eventually led to resignations and arrests. To many, she is now more powerful than she had ever been when she was regularly updating her blog. She has become the symbol of the fight for freedom of expression, not only in Malta.

Less than two months after her assassination, three men were accused of carrying out the crime. Last year, the alleged mastermind was also arrested and taken to court. Proceedings in court are taking long, and we are still nowhere near the conclusion of their cases.

A public inquiry into the murder, in an attempt to establish whether the State could have done more to prevent it, is leading to the surfacing of fresh, at times shocking, information. Ministers seem ready to open up on situations they were defending not so long ago. Too little, too late, one can say. It is hoped that the government’s decision to limit the extension of the deadline to mid-December will be changed. Malta needs to know the truth, the whole truth.

There were political repercussions too. Joseph Muscat was forced to resign from the post of Prime Minister after his chief of staff had been arrested in connection with the murder. Two ministers who were among those who were frequently under the journalist’s microscope, Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona, also quit. Keith Schembri has gone too, and is now under investigation for money laundering activities.

On the other side of the spectrum, what Caruana Galizia started has also led to big changes. She had been critical of Adrian Delia even before he was elected leader of the Nationalist Party just one month before she was assassinated. And now, three years down the line, a group of rebel MPs succeeded in their quest to get Delia out of the leader’s seat, replacing him with Bernard Grech.

The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation was set up by her husband and sons to continue her work. Only this week, an application for a collective action, brought by more than 620 claimants, was filed in the Maltese Civil Courts, claiming breach of data protection. And the family also sued “the five men formally identified as having played a role in Daphne’s murder,” requesting moral and material damages.

Protests and commemorations which were held on the 16th day of every month since her death have been temporarily shelved because of the Covid pandemic, but today there will be a set of activities which are aimed to keep her memory alive.

Daphne was killed three years ago, but her voice still reverberates. And it will continue for years to come.

Because the situation is still desperate.

 

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