Skip to main content

Forensic experts walk in a field after a powerful bomb blew up a car and killed investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija, Malta, Oct. 16, 2017.

Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

Matthew Caruana Galizia is a journalist and software engineer who has worked on investigations into international corruption for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Andrew Caruana Galizia is a Global Leadership Fellow and Strategic Intelligence Lead at the World Economic Forum. Paul Caruana Galizia is the finance editor at Tortoise and a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics.

For more than 30 years, our mother, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was Malta’s most famous journalist. It was lonely: She was the first woman in the country to write a political column and the first person to write one in their own name. She co-founded one of our daily newspapers and broke story after story until her assassination in a car-bomb attack, in broad daylight and metres from our home, on Oct. 16, 2017. There is still no justice for her or her work.

Our mother uncovered a network of offshore companies, in jurisdictions from Panama to the British Virgin Islands, that Maltese government officials allegedly used to launder the proceeds of their corrupt deals.

Story continues below advertisement

Unchecked corruption in Malta is spreading across our fellow members in the Commonwealth and European Union. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) described our government’s cash-for-passports scheme, a shadowy deal our mother uncovered in 2013, as undermining the security of the European Union, “fomenting corruption, importation of organized crime and money laundering.”

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta in 2015, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said: “The Commonwealth should play a leading role in the fight against corruption.” But according to the Corruption Perceptions Index since 2015, Malta has seen the sharpest deterioration in the control of corruption and the rule of law among European Union member states.

Mr. Muscat’s position as Prime Minister, which the Council of Europe found to be “too powerful” and “a serious risk to the rule of law” in a recent report, has enabled him to exploit weaknesses in our colonial-era institutions to the benefit of his officials. In the past five years, he fired and hired five police chiefs in what opposition leaders say is an attempt to block investigations into officials including his own chief of staff. There is nothing, no law or person, to stop him from doing this.

When law enforcement and democratic checks get to this point, journalists become the last people left standing between the rule of law and those who seek to violate it. Their work becomes more dangerous and its impact is diminished. Like our mother, they become targets of hate and violence.

The few remaining independent journalists in Malta are now under threat. In 2018, Malta fell the furthest in press-freedom rankings in Europe. Reporters without Borders, Article 19, PEN International, the International Press Institute, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, and the European Federation of Journalists have all raised the alarm on press freedom and journalists’ safety in Malta.

Journalists from the world’s leading news organizations, working as the Daphne Project – which was named for our mother – have flown in to investigate what’s happening in Malta and follow up on our mother’s work. Their reports have shown that the problems first revealed by our mother are more extensive than we knew.

Europe has mobilized its institutions. Cross-party delegations of MEPs have time and again raised the alarm on corruption in Malta. The European Banking Authority found that our national anti-money laundering authority is in breach of European law. The Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body found Malta’s criminal justice system is paralyzed and its Venice Commission found major rule of law failures.

Story continues below advertisement

The Council’s parliamentary assembly assigned, for the first time for an EU state, a special rapporteur to investigate the assassination. The Maltese government has moved against every attempt since Oct. 16, 2017, to seek full justice for our mother.

It will take more action and more voices to achieve justice.

The Commonwealth, of which Canada is a founding member, is there to support its member states achieve democracy, strengthen governance and promote justice and human rights. Malta is facing a crisis in each respect. Instead of leading the Commonwealth’s drive for justice, human rights and good governance, Malta is dragging the community down, quashing calls for justice with an army of PR advisers, lawyers and lobbyists.

We are now calling for a public inquiry into our mother’s assassination. Headed by senior independent judges, it is the only means available to us by which we can learn whether our mother’s life could have been saved and whether Malta is taking steps to prevent more killings.

There is a broader purpose. The public inquiry will be Malta’s truth and justice commission. By investigating the circumstances around our mother’s assassination, it will reveal what has happened to the country our mother held so dear that she refused to leave even in the face of death.

Mr. Muscat has nothing to fear but the truth, but instead of convening a public inquiry, the Prime Minister has dismissed our repeated calls for one. We have now been forced into litigating the request against the government while fighting off his libel action and ensuring that the murder investigation remains free of government interference.

Story continues below advertisement

The Commonwealth, like Europe, must take a stand against corruption and for democracy, truth and justice. Without its support, without the healing process of a public inquiry, the Maltese government will take us further away from those ideals and take the Commonwealth with it.

Journalists killed in 2019

Ahmed Hussein-Suale Divela

Organization:

Tiger Eye

Private Investigations

Date: Jan. 16, 2019

Location: Ghana

Type of Death: Murder

Leonardo Gabriel Hernandez

Organization:

Valle TV

Date: March 17, 2019

Location: Honduras

Type of Death: Murder

Lyra McKee

Organization:

Freelance

Date: April 18, 2019

Location: UK

Type of Death: Crossfire

Mohamed Ben Khalifa

Organization:

Freelance

Date: Jan. 19, 2019

Location: Libya

Type of Death: Crossfire

Rafael Murua Manriquez

Organization:

Radiokoshana FM

Date: Jan. 20, 2019

Location: Mexico

Type of Death: Murder

Ahmed Hussein-

Suale Divela

Leonardo Gabriel

Hernandez

Organization:

Tiger Eye Private

Investigations

Date: Jan. 16, 2019

Location: Ghana

Type of Death: Murder

Organization:

Valle TV

Date: March 17, 2019

Location: Honduras

Type of Death: Murder

Mohamed Ben Khalifa

Rafael Murua Manriquez

Organization:

Freelance

Date: Jan. 19, 2019

Location: Libya

Type of Death: Crossfire

Organization:

Radiokoshana FM

Date: Jan. 20, 2019

Location: Mexico

Type of Death: Murder

Lyra McKee

Organization:

Freelance

Date: April 18, 2019

Location: UK

Type of Death: Crossfire

Ahmed Hussein-Suale Divela

Leonardo Gabriel Hernandez

Lyra McKee

Organization:

Tiger Eye Private

Investigations

Date: Jan. 16, 2019

Location: Ghana

Type of Death: Murder

Organization:

Valle TV

Date: March 17, 2019

Location: Honduras

Type of Death: Murder

Organization:

Freelance

Date: April 18, 2019

Location: UK

Type of Death: Crossfire

Mohamed Ben Khalifa

Rafael Murua Manriquez

Organization:

Freelance

Date: Jan. 19, 2019

Location: Libya

Type of Death: Crossfire

Organization:

Radiokoshana FM

Date: Jan. 20, 2019

Location: Mexico

Type of Death: Murder

Journalists killed in 2018 (motive confirmed)

Abadullah Hananzai

Abdul Manan Arghand

Abdul Rahman Ismael Yassin

Abdullah al-Qadry

Abdullah Mire Hashi

Story continues below advertisement

Achyutananda Sahu

Ahmed Abu Hussein

Ahmed Azize

Ahmed Hussein-Suale Divela

Aleksandr Rastorguyev

Ali Saleemi

Story continues below advertisement

Ángel Eduardo Gahona

Awil Dahir Salad

Bashar al-Attar

Carlos Domínguez Rodríguez

Chandan Tiwari

Gerald Fischman

Story continues below advertisement

Ghazi Rasooli

Hamoud al-Jnaid

Ibrahim al-Munjar

Jairo Sousa

Jamal Khashoggi

Ján Kuciak

Jefferson Pureza Lopes

John McNamara

Juan Javier Ortega Reyes

Kamel abu al-Walid

Kirill Radchenko

Leobardo Vázquez Atzin

Leonardo Gabriel Hernández

Leslie Ann Pamela Montenegro del Real

Lyra McKee

Maharram Durrani

Mario Leonel Gómez Sánchez

Mohamed Ben Khalifa

Mohammad al-Qadasi

Mohammad Salim Angaar

Musa Abdul Kareem

Mustafa Salamah

Navin Nischal

Nowroz Ali Rajabi

Obeida abu Omar

Omar Ezzi Mohammad

Orkhan Dzhemal

Paúl Rivas Bravo

Raed Fares

Rafael Murúa Manríquez

Ramiz Ahmadi

Rob Hiaasen

Sabawoon Kakar

Saleem Talash

Samim Faramarz

Sandeep Sharma

Shah Marai

Shujaat Bukhari

Sohail Khan

Wendi Winters

Yar Mohammad Tokhi

Yaser Murtaja

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter