In a tragic incident, Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese investigative journalist who exposed her country’s government’s links to offshore tax havens through the leaked Panama Papers, has been reportedly killed in a bomb attack. Galizia was a known journalist in her home country and had shot to fame for taking on those sitting in power. In one of her biggest exposes, Galizia had written that Maltese PM Joseph Muscat’s wife, the country’s energy minister and the government’s chief-of-staff had offshore holdings in Panama to receive money from Azerbaijan. However, PM Muscat and his wife, Michelle, had denied they had companies in Panama. Galizia had been writing a twice-weekly column for The Malta Independent since 1996 and wrote a blog, “Running Commentary” – the two of her very popular works in the country.
Caruana Galizia had seen a number of controversies in her career for writing against the political class of the country. The journalist was even sued for libel over blog entries. Adrian Delia, Opposition leader, had sued her over stories linking him to a prostitution racket in London. She also courted controversy when she wrote that Economy Minister Chris Cardona visited a brothel while in Germany on government business.
Caruana Galizia is survived by her husband and three sons. One son, Matthew, was a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its work on the Panama Papers scandal.
The extent of Galizia popularity in the home country can be calculated by the fact that a number of top political leader, including the PM, and media houses have condemned her murder.
“Daphne played a vitally important role in unearthing serious allegations of money laundering and corruption in Malta, including those involving senior figures in the Maltese government,” Sven Giegold, a Greens member in the European Parliament, was quoted as saying by AP.
Italian newsweekly L’Espresso, which has also written about alleged corruption linked to Malta, said the reporter’s murder demonstrated that a well-documented expose’ “is perceived as a danger by the powerful and by organized crime,” AP reported.
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani in termed the development a “tragic example of a journalist who sacrificed her life to search for the truth.”
The Maltese PM Muscat said that Caruana Galizia’s death resulted from a “barbaric attack” that also amounted to an assault on freedom of expression. Muscat added that the journalist “was one of my harshest critics, on a political and personal level” as he denounced her slaying.