Daphne Caruana Galizia, a prominent journalist and blogger in Malta, was murdered on Monday 16 October in a car bomb just outside her home. Caruana Galizia has been praised as the “one-woman WikiLeaks” in Malta and her blog was as popular as any of the mainstream newspapers in the country.
In recent months, her focus was on three people with a lot of power in the country. They were Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta, as well as the energy minister, Konrad Mizzi and Muscat’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri. As a matter of fact, Caruana Galizia’s last blog post – she died within an hour of posting it – was on Schembri and it accuses him of being a crook. “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate,” she wrote. Mizzi and Schembri also had to deal with Caruana Galizia’s work on the Panama Papers given that their names were mentioned in the leaks. However, they still managed to retain their jobs.
Given the nature of the assassination and the perception surrounding it, Malta’s prime minister was compelled to have an emergency press conference. “Everyone knows Miss Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine, both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way,” he told the press.
Gerard Ryle, director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), also condemned the attack. “Caruana Galizia has been at the forefront of important investigations in the public interest and has exposed offshore dealings of prominent political figures in Malta,” he said in an official statement. “ICIJ condemns violence against journalists and is deeply concerned about freedom of the press in Malta.”