Our statement on the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta
Scottish PEN condemns the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta in the strongest possible terms. Journalism is not a crime and any movement to silence or intimidate journalists is a direct attack on free expression in Malta, the rest of Europe and across the globe. By joining her family, friends and the people of Malta in commemorating her work and bravery, we reiterate our call for journalists to be protected and the culture of impunity to be eroded to ensure justice can be found for Daphne Caruana Galizia and every journalist who has lost their life.
Across the world, journalists are murdered for simply doing their job and we are deeply saddened that Daphne Caruana Galizia has joined Anna Politkovskaya, Gauri Lankesh and many others who have been killed for holding the powerful to account and trying to keep the public informed. There have been a number of reports of similar assassinations taking place in Malta and Scottish PEN calls for a robust and independent investigation to ensure that impunity does not stifle calls for justice to ensure that journalists, human rights defenders and members of civil society are able to express themselves free from threats of violence. Any reluctance to hold the guilty parties to account will only intimidate others and chill free expression in Malta.
In her last blog post, Daphne Caruana Galizia wrote: “There are crooks everywhere you look. The situation is desperate.” This desperation is cast in starker terms following her death. Covering issues such as in her case, the Panama Papers, and demanding transparency and accountability is a vital responsibility of journalists everywhere, not just in Malta, but it is becoming ever more dangerous for writers to investigate these challenging but necessary issues. Reports in the local media claim that Daphne Caruana Galizia had received death threats that she reported to the police two weeks ago and it is deeply saddening that more wasn’t done to ensure that she was protected and the threats investigated. While there is no evidence to suggest the threats are connected to her murder, we believe that they showed a need for greater protection for Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Malta is a country many Scots visit and have family links with and we call on both Holyrood and Westminster to join the European Commission in condemning the murder of “a pioneer of investigative journalism”.