Murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s name will be placed above the entrance to the European Parliament’s press room in Strasbourg, so that “we will not turn our eyes away from what happened in Malta,” Parliament President Antonio Tajani said on Tuesday.
Speaking during the naming ceremony in Strasbourg, Peter Caruana Galizia, the murdered journalist’s husband, used the opportunity to once again denounce Malta’s allegedly corrupt political elite, who he blames for his wife’s death. Deep-seated corruption had caused the country to “slip further and further away from its European values,” he said.
Family members, as well as representatives from the NGO Reporters Without Borders, were present at the ceremony.
Over the course of her career as an investigative journalist, Galizia uncovered countless instances of corruption and money laundering, implicating many of Malta’s highest political officials. She also linked Malta’s sitting Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to the Panama Papers scandal, a move that prompted him to sue her for libel.
Galizia is not the first deceased journalist to have an EU briefing named after her. The press room at the Parliament’s other home in Brussels is named after Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian investigative journalist shot dead in her Moscow apartment in 2006. Russian opposition leaders have blamed the Kremlin for her death.
EU pushed to scrutinize rule of law in Malta
The ceremony followed a parliamentary debate which saw deputies broadly support a resolution questioning Malta’s rule of lawand demanding answers into the allegations made by Galizia of the high-level money laundering networks. On Wednesday, MEPs are set to vote on whether the European Commission will establish a dialogue with the Maltese government regarding the functioning of the rule of law in Malta and to ensure respect for European values.”
The bloc’s smallest state has come under extensive pressure to answer for Galizia’s murder. However, several EU lawmakers said that scrutiny into the rule of law and press freedom in Malta had come too late.
“The harassment of journalists, the blackmailing of independent media by banks connected with money laundering, the involvement of government officials in tax evasion – all this was happening, with police remaining silent,” said Esteban Gonzalez Pons, a member of the legislature’s biggest party, the center-right European People’s Party.
Muscat insists that his country has been fully compliant with EU standards and has even vowed to track down the reporter’s killers. Galizia’s sons, however, have rejected Muscat’s offer of a rewardto help find their mother’s killers and called for his resignation.
dm/jm (Reuters, AFP, dpa)