Defending Investigative Journalism in Malta

On 16 October, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb. We don't know who killed her, but we do know that she devoted her life to exposing corruption - including vital work on the Panama Papers scandal.

Her killing is an attack not just on her, but on journalistic freedom, on freedom of speech and on democracy.

I wrote to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson last week to express my deep concern and to ask the Government to urge Malta to make sure Ms Caruana Galizia's death is properly investigated. I'm still waiting for a reply.


Tuesday 17 October 2017

Dear Mr Johnson,

I am writing to you to express my deep concern about the recent death of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Ms Caruana Galizia died in an explosion in her car shortly after she left her home on Monday, in what is believed to be a targeted assassination.

Ms Caruana Galizia was known for leading the Panama Papers investigation into the links between Malta and offshore tax havens, and published details of cases of alleged corruption among politicians across party lines.

It is not yet known who was responsible for her death. Her son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, has written that "My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it, like many strong journalists".

Attacks on journalists anywhere in the world, as I know you will agree, have a chilling effect on free speech and on democracy. Investigations like the work Ms Caruana Galizia did on the Panama Papers case help to uncover information which powerful people would prefer to keep hidden - which is why it is so important that as democratic politicians we defend them and stand up for the journalists who carry them out.

In my capacity as Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport I want to ask you to make urgent representations to your Maltese counterparts to urge them to ensure that Ms Caruana Galizia's death is properly investigated, and that the investigation is carried out and overseen by officials who have not been subject to her journalistic investigations or raised concerns about her work.

As this is a matter of public interest, I will be releasing this letter to the media.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Watson