Prominent Maltese investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was assassinated yesterday in a violent car-bombing, close to her home in Bidnija, near Mosta, Malta.
Her investigative writings were critical of both government and opposition politicians and business people in her native Malta, where she linked Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to the Panama Papers, a series of leaked documents outlining the often secret corrupt offshore deals of some prominent politicians and business people around the world. Muscat and his wife denied the allegations. Her writings prompted a snap general election that Muscat, in spite of the controversy, won earlier this year.
I never met Daphne Caruana Galizia, neither were I familiar with her work until reports surfaced yesterday detailing her death. Yet, due to the raw violence associated with her assassination, I feel compel today, as an advocate for the rule of law, equality and freedom, to honor and to memorialize this hero, mother, wife and journalist.
According to the BBC-News, Daphne Caruana Galizia had just left her home by car when the vehicle blew up spewing fiery debris across the roadway and into a nearby field. The charred remnants of the tattered burned-out vehicle came to rest in a field. One of her sons, Matthew, also a journalist, tried in vain to rescue his dear mother from an inevitable fate in the fiery explosion. He later wrote: "My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it."
Her son also accused the Maltese police of incompetence, according to the BBC-News, and the Maltese government of "impunity". He further declared: "When the institutions of the state are incapacitated, the last person left standing is often a journalist."
In a final post before her death, Daphne Caruana Galizia described the political situation in Malta as "desperate". There has been a string of killings, corruption and car bombings across the Mediterranean island and smallest European Union(EU) member state.
A placard at one of the many vigils across Malta for Daphne Caruana Galizia aptly reminded the world: "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
The government of Malta has sought international assistance into the murder, including help from the United States(US) Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI),.
While Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, an often subject of Daphne Caruana Galizia's investigative reports, has called her assassination an attack "on the freedom of expression in our country", as reported by the BBC-News, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which won this year's Pulitzer Prize for its work on the Panama Papers, has said it was shocked by her death and "deeply concerned about freedom of the Press in Malta."
May the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia not have been in vain. The rule of law, true democracy and freedom should reign in Malta and worldwide. I extend my deepest condolences to her family, friends, colleagues and supporters on Malta.