Any journalist knows that the more outspoken you are, the more criticism you will receive from your readers. Not everyone is going to like your writing, and more importantly, not everyone is going to agree with you.
When it comes to journalism, it can sometimes be hard to separate fact from opinion. But when one reputable journalist starting exposing the truth about the inner workings of a particular government, people started to listen. What followed was a series of threats, lawsuits, and ultimately, a terrible tragedy….
Daphne Caruana Galizia
Daphne Caruana Galizia was born on August 26, 1964 in Sliema, Crown Colony of Malta. She attended school there and by her late teens, Daphne became heavily involved in political matters. Her career in journalism began after the Maltese general election of 1987 when the government was replaced after a hard-fought struggle for democracy.
A Journalist Was Born
Having been thrown into a police cell at the age of 18 for taking part in protests against her government, Daphne grew even more outraged against the government. Her activism translated into her journalism…
Despite her desire to be a well-known journalist, Daphne still had family on her mind and in 1985 she married Peter Caruana Galizia and they went on to have three sons, Matthew, Andrew, and Paul. Daphne also regularly worked as a news reporter for The Sunday Times of Malta and also as an editor of the Malta Independent.
Witty Style Of Writing
Her skills weren’t just in the political arena and Daphne additionally worked as a publisher and editor of coffee-table magazines, such as Taste & Flair. On any given day, you could either read about Daphne’s gritty reports of the Maltese government or learn how to make the healthiest Mediterranean salad. It was safe to say Daphne was a force to be reckoned with and her colleagues knew it…
By 2008, Daphne’s most notable journalistic contribution was her blog, “Running Commentary.” She ran it single-handedly and it quickly became Malta’s most popular independent news website. Readers followed her investigative reports involving government corruption and crime.
Daphne acted independently of all authorities and soon she was receiving more tip-offs than any of the large media organizations. Her blog was regularly attracting over 400,000 views, which was more than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers. But, with all her honest work and investigative reporting came criticism and harassment…
The front door of her house was set on fire in 1996, and the family’s dog was killed, with its body laid across the doorstep. In 2006, the neighbor’s car was burned in a misdirected attack and two stacks of car tires were doused with petrol and set on fire next to the family’s home. Soon, Daphne was receiving death threats every day.
They took the form of phone calls, text messages, emails, letters, notes pinned to her front door, and comments on her blog. Daphne’s controversial blog posts also resulted in several legal battles. Still, for decades, Daphne refused to give up her reporting despite intimidation, threats, libels, and other lawsuits…
A Corrupt State
By the time Daphne was 53, she felt she had good reason to feel pessimistic about Malta. She regularly reported on the state which was filled with corruption, money laundering, and a criminal justice system that seemed incapable. She was a fearless woman but she absolutely feared what the government was capable of.
Alarming Number Of Assassinations
Fifteen mafia-style assassinations and car bombings took place on the island in the last ten years, and Daphne was afraid she would be next. On October 16, 2017, Daphne wrote a blog post that seems rather chilling if you read it now…
Maybe She Was Getting Close To Something
“There are crooks everywhere you look. The situation is desperate.” Daphne’s last post appeared on her blog just hours before she was killed. Maybe she was getting too close to something or maybe she was just irritating someone too much. But, the trouble that she was stirring ultimately led to her death.
How She Died
At around 3 p.m. on October 16, 2017, Daphne died in a car bomb attack in her rented Peugeot 108. At the time she was driving close to her home in Bidnija, and the large explosion left the vehicle scattered in pieces across nearby fields. The blast was loud enough for Daphne’s son Matthew to hear it 80 meters away from the blast site. After he heard the blast, he wrote on Facebook…
Heartbreaking Facebook Post
“I looked down and there were my mother’s body parts all around me…Her death marks the sixth car-bombing in Malta since the beginning of 2016 and the fourth fatality.” What’s even sadder, is after Matthew’s mom’s death, it came out that she filed a police report two weeks prior saying that she was being threatened.
Search For The Killer/s?
Forensic teams and police investigators arrived at the crime scene soon after the explosions and it was discovered that the assassins who killed Daphne reportedly used a fatal text message bomb sent from a boat out at sea. But reports from the beginning of the investigation, which has been aided by the FBI, suggested that the explosives could not have originated in Malta and must have been brought from somewhere else…
Being that Daphne did not trust the police under the current Maltese government, others, including Matthew, did not trust the police to properly investigate her death. But being that Malta was facing pressure from the European Union to make progress in the investigation of the car bomb killing, they announced that ten people had been arrested in connection with the crime.
Daphne’s Family Is Concerned
It is unclear what motive prosecutors used to pin the murder on the ten people arrested, but it seems to allude to something more. Daphne’s family has since expressed great concern that the authorities may “also be leaking information to other suspects, some of whom could be in or close to the government.” They continued saying…
Covering Up For Their Crimes
“None of the developments in the investigation or its handling by the Malta Police have served to reassure the family that real justice is within reach.” The family is still concerned that a number of people could be receiving “political cover” for crimes they committed.
Malta Is Called Out
Being that Daphne, who was 53 when she died, was responsible for exposing startling levels of corruption in the Maltese government, Malta has been sanctioned for violating fundamental rights by failing to guarantee the rule of law…
Rallying For Daphne
Daphne’s death prompted protests attended by thousands of people. At one rally, demonstrators marched through Valletta, the Maltese capital, singing patriotic songs and waving signs that quoted the last words known to be written by Daphne.
“Turning A Blind Eye”
Protesters accused the authorities of failing to protect her and of turning a “blind eye to criminality” inside and outside the government. Additionally, Daphne’s husband called for a senior police officer involved in the investigation to be replaced because he is married to a woman who was a fierce critic of Daphne.