The Malta Independent asked editors of all media houses to say whether they believe Malta has changed after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and how.
Herman Grech, Online editor, Times of Malta
In a way, the reaction is understandable – Daphne was not just killed, she was eliminated in a gruesome display. The scene in Bidnija can never be eradicated from our memories, despite the attempts of too many to do so.
But it has brought to the fore our lack of critical thinking, especially where it comes to political discourse. We still have no idea who masterminded the murder, yet on one side we see people who are dead set on blaming the government for Daphne’s killing; on the other hand, I’ve heard the most bizarre conspiracy theories to almost justify her murder.
We simply refuse to listen to arguments that do not tally with our narrative. The fact that the persons in authority continue spewing their hate on social media and persist in clearing her memorial in Valletta has only served to prolong the pain… and shown that freedom of expression is nothing more than an a la carte menu for some.
The institutions – from the police to the courts – appear to have been paralysed since 16 October, even if three men have been charged with her murder. Malta’s name has been stained internationally; the government is desperately trying to give the impression that it’s business as usual, while the Opposition is rife with infighting, partly sparked by Daphne’s murder.
Amid this turbulence, the role of journalism in Malta has become more essential than ever.
Matthew Vella, Executive editor, Malta Today
The aftermath of this heinous murder for such a small island has been tumultuous: Caruana Galizia’s work polarised people radically because it was rooted in aggressive partisanship, which is why a party and, dare I say, class divide illustrates the divisions we see in political discourse and contested spaces such as the Great Siege monument.
Beyond our shores, inside the EU, it allowed MEPs to start focusing on our piratic services industry but political chauvinism risks undoing this work. Egrant is indisputably a blot on the Caruana Galizia legacy. But crucially, the only thing that matters is that justice is served: the persons who commissioned this assassination must be brought to justice.
Alex Attard, Editor Il-Mument
I am very sad to state that Malta did change… unfortunately for the worse. A year has gone by since Daphne Caruana Galizia’s brutal murder, and we are still in the dark about who commissioned this heinous crime and the reasons that led up to it.
The upshot of it all – the cold, stark reality – is that we do know the suspects implicated in this crime but we remain none the wiser regarding the identities of the person/persons who were behind the entire, nefarious plot and who commissioned the hit.
Today – a year later – it is still so difficult to live with this reality.
The government should do the right thing and shoulder its responsibility – a responsibility to us, the people, who are desperate for the truth, for the details, grim as they are.
The fallout from this crime has contributed to this current climate of fear and uncertainty, especially after the latest allegations, published earlier this week, which linked Minister Chris Cardona to the alleged killer(s).
A Minister who is in no way to be trusted after his behaviour in court when, last May, he decided to drop the libel cases against Caruana Galizia over her claims that he had been spotted ‘in-flagrante’ at the FKK Acapulco brothel in Velbert, Germany.
Yes, Malta did change … and for that, we should ALL be hanging our heads in shame.
Tim Diacono, Political Editor, Lovin’ Malta
“A few hours after Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed, I took part in a candlelit vigil in Sliema along with thousands of other people, including several who had often been targeted on Caruana Galizia’s blog. It seemed like a spark of hope in a desolate landscape, that Malta was actually capable of putting its differences aside and demand change in the face of an existential threat. The dark reality of the Maltese underworld was unveiled and the vulnerability of dissidents exposed in the most grotesque manner possible. Fast-forward a year and we’re now discussing what Caruana Galizia’s legacy should be, whether people should be allowed to place flowers for her at the foot of a monument and whether government critics should be labelled as traitors.
Unfortunately, this has all proved what a hyper partisan country Malta really is and how so many people base their narratives of reality on propaganda fed to them by their political leaders.
Meanwhile, with the three murder suspects refusing to speak to the police, we are no nearer to closure on the most crucial question: Who was behind Daphne’s murder and why.”
Sylvana DeBono, Editor-in-Chief, Beacon Media Group
In many ways, the bomb that killed Daphne blew off the mask of pseudo-civilization, even Christianity with which the Maltese had veneered themselves over decades. I feel that the years of gradual build up to become a member of the European confraternity of countries was, for Malta, too little to go deeply. We are, essentially, a ruthless population, kneaded by an environment which has been thrifty with the resources granted to us and an enviable geopolitical position which, for centuries left us servile. We now are free, independent and masters of our fate. We shed the shackles of natural constraint and political mastery. We have also shed humanity.
The week Daphne was killed, the days until her funeral was held, were ones of some restraint. Retaliation, like a fierce demon, was however chomping at the bit. We could feel the underlying current in the comments on programmes, almost as if some were waiting for a starter pistol to let loose the dogs of invective. And so it was.
However, these extreme broadsides are, in a way, heartening. In spite of the possibly unintended magnitude of hate-speech, little saplings of reaction, weak, delicate and tender so far, yet seemingly resilient, indicate to me that the Maltese backbone has not been broken by oligarchy. And Daphne’s soul, like Vassalli’s for Ruzar Briffa, may eventually be able to say “Issa fl-ahhar – jiena se nsib is-sabar” (Now, at long last – I am going to be at peace).
Owen Galea, Head of News, ONE
The utterly shocking murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia was condemned by all. It represented a tragic moment for our country and risked denting the principle of freedom of expression which Malta cherishes so strongly.
Local investigators assisted by FBI, Europol and other security forces, left no stone unturned. Within 50 days, three people were arraigned in Court accused of committing the murder. Investigations with unprecedented resources are resuming as we speak to identify the motive of the crime.
The case has also brought an avalanche of unwanted repercussions. Some politicians, especially those supporting the faction of former Nationalist leader Simon Busuttil, are trying to ride on her gruesome death for their own personal gain, or to hit the headlines. Others believe that they have the right to be judge and jury, thus completely diminishing the concept of rule of law in Malta.
Sensationalising her murder, and destroying the democratic and independent judicial system in Malta, serves no real purpose.
It is sad that certain media outlets attempt to manipulate the work that has been done to investigate her murder in order to push forward their own political agenda. These same media outlets have repetitively lied to the Maltese people such as in the Egrant case which has now resulted by a Magisterial Inquiry to be a calumny based on fabricated documents.
I believe the Maltese are committed to facts, not speculations that surface now and again to support outrageous claims being made.
Roberto De Brincat, Editor, l-orizzont
We are living in the same country we used to live in before Daphne’s murder – the only change we encountered was related to our reputation as we ended up under the international spotlight. Unfortunately, Daphne’s murder was used for partisan purposes in a clear strategy to subvert our nation’s reputation.
I firmly believe that all citizens demand justice, irrespective of their political beliefs. People have become more aware of the risks that the journalistic profession bears when exposing certain scoops, although I must point out that due to political influence in our society, individuals pertaining to certain societal segments are still showing disrespect towards journalists associated with a political party.
I am of the opinion that due to the continuous use of buzzwords such as rule of law, and so on, people started to understand better the real meaning of these buzzwords. Unfortunately, our country has been compared to a mafia state when this is not the case.
Personally, I take this opportunity to urge all opinion leaders and influencers not to put our country’s reputation at stake – whoever committed Daphne’s murder has to face justice, and when this happens, the rule of law and our judicial system will prevail on all the allegations that were intended to ruin Malta’ reputation.
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