The editor of The Northern Times was invited to speak at a vigil marking six years since the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Editor Christoph Schwaiger addressed a crowd in Malta’s capital, Valletta, on Monday, urging those gathered to believe in their ability to bring about the changes they wanted to see in their country.
Investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated by a car bomb in Malta in October 2017. She was investigating high-level government corruption at the time of her murder. She was described by Politico as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. Three men have since been convicted for her murder but her family and activists on the Mediterranean island continue fighting for full justice in her case.
“Instead of praying that the wind doesn’t steal my notes, I’d rather be sitting next to you on the couch watching a good series on Netflix. But unfortunately life isn’t Netflix. On the 16th of October Daphne wasn’t walking in slow motion. At 3pm she didn’t hear any background music playing. The last soundtrack that Daphne heard consisted of explosions and fire and the hatred of those who thought they were the only ones in charge in Malta,” Schwaiger said during the vigil.
Schwaiger urged people from all walks of life to stand up and make their voices heard. He said that while the road to justice and normality might be long and tough, activists will find lots of help and support along the way.
Other speakers at the vigil included the president of the rule-of-law organisation Repubblika Dr Robert Aquilina, Italian journalist Alessandro de Lisi, Occupy Justice activist Clemence Dujardin, EU lead advocate for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Tom Gibson, Chiara di Gaetano from Libera Assciazion Nomi e Numeri Contro le Mafie, Slovakian journalist Karolina Farska, and 12-year-old pupil Ethan Mifsud.
Malta’s Opposition Leader Bernard Grech and former prime minister Lawrence Gonzi attended the event. As did several diplomats from various missions, including representatives of the USA, Germany, Australia, and Ireland. Members of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family including her father, sisters, and sons were also present.
Leeuwarden and Valletta clashed in 2018
In 2018, both Leeuwarden and Valletta were selected as that year’s European Capitals of Culture. Valletta 2018 director Jason Micallef had made disparaging comments about the slain journalist which prompted calls for the LF2018 (Leeuwarden and Fryslân) committee to look into the matter. While the director of the Leeuwarden-Friesland committee Tjeerd van Bekkum initially downplayed the situation, Matthew Caruana Galizia, one of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s sons called him out. Eventually, LF2018 organisers announced they would not be sending any representatives to Valletta and any ties formed between the two capitals unravelled.
A brief visit to Leeuwarden by then Maltese minister for Culture Owen Bonnici did little to improve relations between the two European Capitals of Culture. Bonnici was himself later found guilty by Maltese courts for breaking freedom of expression rights of Maltese activists calling for justice for the slain journalist in a separate case.
Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt also marked the anniversary of Caruana Galizia’s murder on Twitter. “Justice still has to be done and seen to be done,” he said.
Six years ago Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in Malta.
Her crime? Speaking truth to power as a journalist
Justice still has to be done and seen to be done
The public enquiry was clear and very harsh: yet its recommendations are not executed.
We will keep reminding the… pic.twitter.com/67Efq9clun
— Pieter Omtzigt (@PieterOmtzigt) October 16, 2023
Photo courtesy of Bongu.mt