World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


World’s Press Condemn Murder of Maltese Journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia

World’s Press Condemn Murder of Maltese Journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia

Paris, Frankfurt – 2017-10-18

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum (WEF) have condemned a car bomb attack in Malta on Monday, 16 October in which investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia lost her life.

Ms Galizia was travelling home on Monday afternoon when a huge explosion blew her car into several pieces and scattered debris off the road. Police have yet to identify her body.

"We condemn this shocking attack, which deliberately targeted not just one of our bravest and brightest, but also our very mission as truth seekers,” said David Callaway, President of the World Editors Forum.

Ms Galizia, who was known for exposing corruption in Malta, published her work on the Running Commentary blog. She was part of the collaborative Panama Papers investigation and had been relentless at exposing corruption in Malta's political circles – including Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, in a story connecting offshore companies linked to the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

She had recently reported receiving death threats and died on Monday within half-an-hour of posting her final blog.

Wolfgang Krach, editor-in-chief of Süddeutsche Zeitung - the publication that initiated the Panama Papers investigation – and member of the WEF Board, said:

“Daphne was called ‘the one-woman-Wikileaks of Malta’, and she really delivered what her readers expected. She exposed relentlessly and without fear what she thought had be exposed. This made her the most famous investigative journalist in Malta, and has tragically led to her death. Although it is far from clear why someone should hate her so much that they planted a bomb in her car, it seems very likely that her work was the cause for this crime.”

Prior to running her blog, MsGalizia worked for The Sunday Times of Malta and The Malta Independent. But it was Running Commentary that made her widely known, becoming one of the most read websites in Malta. Her hard-hitting journalism meant she was involved in a number of legal battles and in 2016, Politico named her as one of “28 people who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe.”

“The Panama Papers scandal in Malta went on to become her biggest story, although she wasn't even included in the ICIJ team,” said Wolfgang Krach. “With her own sources she gathered more and more stories and received a lot of attention when she alleged Panamanian company Egrant was owned by Michelle Muscat, the wife of the Prime Minister - allegations which eventually triggered a general election. The truth about her work - and her death - will not stay hidden. Too many colleagues will follow her work, her traces, her ideas; her stories will not be forgotten, nor will she.“

The news from Malta came in the same week that a massive truck bomb claimed the life of at least one journalist and injured at least five others, following an explosion in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Freelance video-reporter Ali Nur Siad-Ahmed was killed in the explosion alongside at least 260 others, with over 300 left injured in what has been described as Somalia’s most deadly terrorist attack.

“Whether directly targeted or indiscriminately caught up in broader tragedies, these murders show that journalism is an increasingly dangerous profession,” said WEF President, David Callaway. “Our vigilance is required now more than ever when it comes to safeguarding the right of journalists to expose corruption, bring to light uncomfortable truths, and simply do their jobs unhindered. Protecting journalists should be of prime concern for all those with an interest in seeing democratic societies thrive. An attack on one journalist is an attack on the entire profession, and today we stand in solidarity with all of our colleagues who are targeted because of their work.”

2017 has been yet another deadly year for journalists. This week’s tragedies are yet to be reflected in the number of deaths tracked by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). But prior to the bombings, 27 journalists’ deaths had already been recorded in 2017. Nine of those were murdered; four in Mexico. In 2016, of the 48 journalists who died, 18 were murdered. 

More information about WAN-IFRA’s Media Freedom work www.wan-ifra.org/pressfreedom and World Editors Forum www.wan-ifra.org/microsites/world-editors-forum

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