The heads of eight of the world’s largest news organisations wrote to the first vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, asking him to investigate the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and the independence of the media in Malta.
The signatories are Katharine Viner, editor in chief of The Guardian, Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times, Jérôme Fenoglio, director of Le Monde, and James Harding, the director of news and current affairs at the BBC, Wolfgang Krach of Süddeutsche Zeitung, Lionel Barber of the Financial Times, Mario Calabresi at La Repubblica and Antonio Caño, of El Pais.
The letter described the murder as “shocking” and an “appalling reminder” of the dangers that journalists and citizen-journalists faced as they tried to uncover corruption and criminal behaviour. It said the murder of Mrs Caruana Galizia, who was killed in a car bomb in Bidnija on October 16, could not be allowed to achieve the “clear objective of silencing Mrs Caruana Galizia’s investigation into corruption at the highest levels in Malta.”
“Daphne’s murder, combined with the structural issues the Commission identified, demonstrate the need for a full investigation into the state of media independence in Malta by the commission.
“We ask that you use your office to engage the Maltese government in urgent dialogue to ensure that it is aware of its obligations as a member of the European Union to uphold the rule of law, and to maintain press freedom and free expression.”
“The murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia demonstrates the danger that journalists face in the pursuit of truth. It also demonstrates the fear that the corrupt and powerful have of being exposed.”
“We request that you use all powers at your disposal to ensure that Daphne’s death is fully investigated, and to send a clear signal of support to journalists working in the public interest, in Malta and all over the world.”