Foreign correspondents in Brussels today commemorated Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Maltese investigative journalist who was murdered exactly a year ago, while investigating corruption at the highest political level in Malta.
In the press room of the European Commission journalists and spokespeople held a minute's silence and a commemoration was also held at the entrance of the International Press Center Residence Palace.
On the occasion of the commemoration, European Commission vice-presidents Frans Timmermans and Andrus Ansip, and commissioners Vera Jourová and Mariya Gabriel issued a statement saying that "democracy cannot survive if journalists are no longer able to report freely, if they are subject to censorship, if they are prevented from reporting criticism of the powers that be and especially if they are intimidated, harassed, threatened and sometimes even killed just for doing their job. Theirs is a job democracy relies and depends upon". The statement also mentioned Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak, who was mudered earlier this year for apparently similar reasons. "The people responsible for these assassinations must be brought to justice. We want the full truth. We need to send a clear signal to all journalists: it is safe to work in Europe. If journalists are silenced, so is democracy. This will not happen in Europe. Not on our watch."
At the Commission's Midday briefing, Julie Majerczak of Reporters without Borders – speaking also on behalf of API-IPA and the European Federation of Journalists – lamented the fact that one year after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia it is still not clear who was behind it. Three people have been arrested but no trial seems imminent. "Above all, we do not know anything about who ordered this murder. This gives a blank check to all those who want to silence critical voices, to create a climate of fear among journalists", Majerczak said. She also demanded from the Maltese authorities a full and public investigation into how this murder could have been prevented.