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Caruana Galizia vigils held in Valletta and six cities around the world

Vigils mark six months since the blogger was assassinated

  • Photo: Reuters

    Photo: Reuters

  • Photo: Reuters

    Photo: Reuters

Hundreds crowded in front of the law courts in Valletta for a vigil to mark six months since the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The event saw a number of speakers address the large crowd which made its way to the makeshift memorial set up at the Great Siege Monument, after a special mass was held at the St Francis Church on Republic Street.

Reporters Without Borders Head of EU Desk Pauline Ades Mevel started her speech by saying that six months on from Ms Caruana Galizia’s murder, “Valletta is still the world capital of journalism”.

Malta, she said, was not alone.

“We are gathered in London, Washington, Brussels, Berlin, Dresden Edinburgh, Amsterdam,” she said.

Ms Ades Mevel said people gathered to show the Maltese authorities and the international community that they would not forget Ms Caruana Galizia.

Those gathered would not rest until all of those who planned and carried out her brutal and shocking murder were brought to justice

“We gather in support of the principle of press freedom - any attack on a journalist is an attack on press freedom - because what is at stake is the need for journalists like her to investigate without fear,” she said.

The killers, she said, wanted to silence Ms Caruana Galizia but they didn't manage to get more than one minute of silence.

“It is not the crooks that are everywhere; we are everywhere,” she said.

Activist Pia Zammit said civil society could not keep up with the constant stream of news of corruption. In a normal country people would be protesting in their thousand - particularly students, who here stayed quiet but showed up in droves for a social media stunt.

She protested that “paid trolls” spread lies and misinformation, which was why activists must continue talking to people: “We must help them realise that propaganda is not necessarily the truth,” she said.

Nationalist Party MP Alex Perici Calascione called on people from both sides of the political spectrum to take a stand, saying society needed to band together as a whole, and not get caught up in partisan bickering.

Journalist Manuel Delia stressed that the powerful bomb that killed the journalist had shone the world’s spotlight on Malta.

“And we were blamed for the shame that they brought upon us. They mocked us, threatened us, and their reply is always ready ’40,000. Our Joseph has 40,000’,” he said, adding that the prime minister had 400,000 people to answer to, not just the 40,000 majority he had won in last year's election.

The event ended with a video prepared by activists followed by those gathering singing the national anthem.

Earlier, the church of St Francis in Valletta was packed for a Mass addressed by Archbishop Charles Scicluna. The widower of the slain blogger, Peter Caruana Galizia, made the first reading, dwelling on the theme of 'fake testimony'.

In his homily, Mgr Scicluna warned that it was easy to get "tangled in the nets of corruption". It was easy, he said, to fall into the temptation of giving only in the contract of taking back and trying to get a seat at the table and to share "in the cake of life".

But he stressed that for justice to be done, all - as a society - had to collaborate, even if they did not benefit in person from the fruits.

Quoting Pope Francis for large portions of his homily, Mgr Scicluna told those gathered that some, in the search for justice, had fallen under the power of those who would seek to extinguish freedom of expression. And, although the search for justice might mean hardship, he warned against "drowning in mediocrity".

The congregation includes a number of Nationalist politicians, including former prime minister Lawrence Gonzi, former members of the judiciary and former Ombudsmen, as well as members of the public. Journalist Caroline Muscat also said a few words at the end of the ceremony, which was greeted with applause.

Commemorations have been organised in a number of cities to mark six months since the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The vigil outside the European Commission in Brussels.The vigil outside the European Commission in Brussels.

The European Federation of Journalists, local group Il-Kenniesa, Transparency International EU, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, organised six vigils in London, Edinburgh, Valletta, Washington DC, Brussels, Berlin, Dresden and Amsterdam.

"Malta's loss is also one for Europe and has left a devastating impact on the people's right to know," the federation wrote.

Reporters Without Borders and other press freedom organisations met outside the Maltese Embassy in DC for a vigil to remember her life and work.

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