- Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb in October 2017 after investigating some of Malta’s most prominent figures.
- Caruana Galizia’s reporting meant that she was repeatedly the target of physical and legal threats. Her death came after she used the Panama Papers leak to investigate senior government figures.
- The death sparked widespread outrage and protests in Malta and led to the prime minister’s resignation, but no one has been tried yet.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, an independent journalist working in Malta, was killed by a car bomb in October 2017, after investigating corruption among the country’s elite.
Much of her work before her death was focused on the findings of the Panama Papers: millions of documents that leaked from a law firm in Panama in April 2016.
The papers revealed cases of fraud, as well as both legal and illegal tax avoidance by wealthy people around the world.
The leak was the biggest in history, and was used by journalists globally to investigate politicians and tycoons in their countries.
Using the papers, Caruana Galizia used the findings to investigate government figures in Malta.
She had already spent years challenging corruption and investigating leaders in the country — which, Reuters reported, led to her being repeatedly threatened, both physically and legally. Her pet dogs were killed by unknown attackers.
Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in April 2016.
The Panama Papers leak led to her taking on Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat.
She accused two members of his government of setting up companies in Panama just after taking office, and accused Muscat’s wife of setting up a company there just after he became prime minister.
The government figures — Keith Schembri, the chief of staff; and Konrad Mizzi, the energy minister — said they only set up the companies to manage their private wealth, and Muscat called her claims about his wife “completely false and defamatory.”
As Reuters noted, Caruana Galizia did not publish the document she said she saw, and her claims were not verified.
But her accusations prompted Muscat to call an election so that he could prove he had public support, which he won.
But he ultimately resigned in January 2020, facing pressure from a population who felt he had not done enough to root out the kind of corruption that Caruana Galizia wrote about.
In his speech, he said expressed “deep regret” over her killing, and said the country needed a “fresh page.”
As he announced his plans to step down, thousands of people protested in Valletta, Malta’s capital, holding pictures of Caruana Galizia and signing their national anthem, the Guardian reported at the time.
Caruana Galizia’s family had called for Muscat to step down, saying that his “continued tenure as prime minister is intolerable to anyone who cares about justice.”
A picture of Daphne Caruana Galizia at a protest demanding justice over her killing and the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in November 2019.
“His role in the investigation into our wife and mother’s assassination is unlawful,” they said.
Less than an hour before her death, Caruana Galizia had written on her blog: “There are crooks everywhere you look. The situation is desperate.”
Her son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, discovered her body, in parts, scattered around her car after the bomb.
Three years after Caruana Galizia’s death, no one has been tried.
Four men have been detained, but no trial date has been set, according to The One Free Press Coalition.
Three men were among those arrested in 2017, and all pleaded not guilty in December 2017.
Yorgen Fenech, a prominent businessman in Malta, was later arraigned. He was accused of organizing and funding the bombing, and also pleaded not guilty.
All of their trials are yet to take place.
Fenech has tried to link Schembri, the former chief of staff, to the killing. Schembri was arrested but was later released, and has denied any connection to Caruana Galizia’s death.
The Guardian reported in August that police in Malta believe her killing was connected to reporting that she was planing on doing on a the funding of a government-sponsored power plant, after she received emails leaked from an energy company partly owned by Fenech.
19 press freedom and human rights groups are calling for a criminal investigation into her death, because “justice is still delayed in her case.”
They said that the public inquiry into her death has revealed government intimidation of journalists.
“To date, the public inquiry has uncovered extensive failures of the state and its entities to protect the life of Daphne Caruana Galizia and a pattern of intimidation and harassment of her and her family, as well as other independent journalists, steered from the highest levels of government.”
Insider is covering Caruana Galizia’s case as part of The One Free Press Coalition, which raises awareness of the world’s persecuted journalists.
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