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Daphne's laptop: Why the fuss?

A journalist’s sources are protected at law, and there is good reason for that

I am finding it very difficult to find a shred of logic behind the motivation of this sudden “Where is Daphne’s laptop” political campaign.

I can totally see why access to the murdered journalist’s laptop would be likely to shed light on the tragedy, of course. What I do not understand is why some PL supporters seem to think that they are going to score any political points (as if that is the priority here!) or that they will succeed by throwing mud at the murdered journalist’s family through this campaign.

The only thing this “where is Daphne’s laptop” stunt is attracting, from those who don’t wear any political blinders, is ridicule.

The murdered journalist’s son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, has gone on record saying that he does not know where the laptop is and, even if he did, he would not hand it over. And thank the heavens for that.

The only thing this “where is Daphne’s laptop” stunt is attracting, from those who don’t wear any political blinders, is ridicule

Seriously – what is the murdered journalist’s laptop more likely to reveal? Some off-the-wall proof that her own family conspired to murder her? Or maybe, just maybe – and I’m throwing a shot in the dark here – is it more likely to contain a list of all the sources that she worked with? Including information about the latest stories, any big reveal she was planning, and the identity of those who would be damaged most by said reveal?

A journalist’s sources are protected at law, and there is good reason for that. Reliable sources only tend to agree to speak to a trusted journalist after being assured and reassured of the highest level of confidentiality. Breaching this confidentiality would not only be irresponsible and unfair towards the sources, but also quite plausibly dangerous.

At best, if the laptop were to be handed over, this is exactly what would happen. A breach of confidentiality, with all the obvious consequences it brings with it.

At worst, actual information about the assassination can fall in the wrong hands, tainting the eventual outcome of any independent investigation.

If anyone does have access to this laptop, let us hope they have the good sense to spirit it out of the country. Given all the circumstances, it is the only way the safety of its contents can be guaranteed until the best way to proceed becomes clearer.

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