Columnist brought in for questioning for breaching electoral silence

Complaints to police from PN over Facebook and Twitter posts

Daphne Caruana Galizia, photographed at a PN mass meeting in Naxxar during the electoral campaign.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, photographed at a PN mass meeting in Naxxar during the electoral campaign.

Police yesterday brought publicist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Malta Independent columnist, in for questioning at the Mosta police station on the strength of a duty magistrate's order over complaints that she had breached electoral silence.

With the social media networks still buzzing, albeit at a lower level, with political talk on Friday's eve of Malta's election day, Caruana Galizia's personal blog on Friday was still busy with posts that she said "mocked" Opposition leader Joseph Muscat.

New complaints to the police from the Nationalist Party followed earlier today, reporting several Labour Party representatives or candidates who breached the General Elections Act's provisions on electoral silence, by posting messages on Twitter and Facebook.

Caruana Galizia, 48, reportedly refused to entertain a request from the Commissioner of Police on Friday evening to come in for questioning at the Mosta police station.

In her blog, she claimed that at 9:30pm two police inspectors arrived at her home in Bidnija with a warrant for her arrest, but a stand-off ensued when she refused them access to her house. "I brought out the mastiff so that he could hurl himself against [the gate] and bit the bars, just in case they had any thoughts of coming over the wall," she wrote.

Caruana Galizia also demanded that she gave a statement in her home, which police refused. She then "rang the press": Bondiplus presenter Lou Bondì arrived on the scene, where he was filmed questioning police inspectors as to why they were arresting the columnist.

Police allowed her to be driven down to the police station by her husband, lawyer Peter Caruana Galizia, where she then questioned and released at 1:30am.

"I challenged the basis for their arrest, explained that the law was anti-constitutional, and asked them why - when practically the whole of Malta was discussing politics on the internet, I had been selected for arrest," she wrote.

She also accused "the police force in general" of having become "terribly weakened by the rise of strong Labour elements".

While the internet is no safe harbour for circumventing laws on civil or criminal defamation, the General Elections Act also prohibits any form of broadcasting medium from breaching the day of reflection.

But bloggers on Facebook yesterday questioned why freedom of expression had to be curtailed on the eve of, and the day of voting: a matter which for the time remains a moot question.

Caruana Galizia, loved and hated in equal measure by fans and critics, pens regular invectives against the Labour Party as well as members of the media, whether they are styled as opposition or independent figures.

More in Elections 2013
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Dedicated to the Befama, keep cool dream on: They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa Remember when you ran away and I got on my knees and begged you not to leave because I'd go berserk?? Well... You left me anyhow and then the days got worse and worse and now you see I've gone completely out of my mind.. And.. They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!! They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa To the funny farm. Where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!!! You thought it was a joke and so you laughed, you laughed when I had said that loosing you would make me flip my lid.. RIGHT??? I know you laughed, I heard you laugh, you laughed you laughed and laughed and then you left, but now you know I'm utterly mad... And.. They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa, They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa. To the happy home. With trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes and they're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!! I cooked your food, I cleaned your house, and this is how you pay me back for all my kind unselfish loving deeds.. Huh?? Well you just wait, they'll find you yet and when they do they'll put you in the ASPCA, you mangy mutt!!! And... They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa. They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa. To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!! To the happy home, with trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes and they're coming to take me away, ha-haa!!! To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time... (fade out) Hey, buddy! Yes officer.. You a head? No, but I'm catching up, ha ha ha....
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well spoken Daphne !! this is showing us more and more that we must get rid of a prime minister that preaches democracy and than works against it,Gonzi thinks that he himself is above the law because of his status.pierre gaffiero 243861m
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Whether it be Daphne Caruana Galizia u Lou Bondi these people knew ahead of time that they were going to be called in for interrogation by the police. This is like when Mepa takes their bulldozers and dear down a shed or a girna in the middle of nowhere just to look good, the police are doing just the same to justify their job. This is the kind of archaic and barbaric Third World Country Laws we still abide by in this country. The Governments and the courts only use the media where it benefits them and that is where it stops, but it is not working in places like Iran and Syria and it is not going to work here. The media and the internet have become mightier than the sword and the government has to accept that fact. Mumming the media the day before an election is idiotic and barbaric and that archaic law must be changed if the law makers want our country to step into the future. Still alot of time to go vote, so get out and go vote, it is your right and obligation to do so.
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An Orchestrated "MESSA IN SENA" by non other than the Cousin of the Great Agent Provocateur of the 80’s. Produced & Presented by Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
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To the last minutes the PN does not realise that DCG does not help their party, This is one of the many items that need to change.To me, hre articles are a demonstation of the ignorance that persits in this country.
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Nixtieq ikun naf minn irraporta l-indy blogger lill-Pulizija! Sa issa l-Maltin qed jidhru li huma kapaci jghixu u jivvotaw fil-kwiet bhal kull poplu civilizzat iehor! Hasra li Bondi kien on 'stand by mode' bhal computer tieghi biex ikun jista jiffilmja lil dik li tahseb li qed taghmel gid lid-demokrazzija u l-libeta billi toffendi lil dak u lil l-iehor! Jien nahseb li l-ligi fuq l-internet ghandha tinbidel-imma dik l- parti li toqghod toffendi lin-nies li ma jaqblux mieghek ghandha tibqa hemm! Kullhadd bravu ikun bully joffendi u fl-istess hin ikollu l-protezzjoni tal- pulizija: nispera li l-Korp tal-Pulizija jithallas ghax sa fejn naf jien jekk ikollok pulizija wara darek jekk se tkun tizzewweglek it-tifla tridt thallas le?
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'L-indy' blogger tant kemm gew ghall-gharrieda il-pulizija li kellha diga l-make up lest fuqha. X'jigifieri li din 'l- freedom fighter'!!!! Maltija -replika feminini ta Stallone, tigi arrestata biex tinghata l-ahhar 5 minutes of fame?
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Malta kollha tistenna bil-herqa li tasal dik il-gurnata meta nehilsu minn hmieg bhal Daphne Caruana Galizia u Lou Bondi'.
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anna calleja
If, as DCG claims, the report to the Police to arrest her originates from the PL, I would regard it as their one, but most serious mistake in this long drawn out election champagne. Why did they have to trip in the last few hours of the ordeal? If you ask me whether DCG deserved to be arrested, I wouldn’t negate it. If you ask me whether it reflects positively or negatively on the PL I would without hesitation pick the latter. The blogs she published over the years are there on her site to read (as are the articles of other bloggers) on the last day before the election, so if these article did not shake mountains, why give so much importance to what she says on the last day? This false move has given her blog, with the help of Bondi+ sooooo much publicity on Election Day, something which should have been foreseen by whoever lodged the report! I’m sure that the PN underhand propaganda machine will refer to this incident for months to come. Let this be a warning to the PL, (provided this report indeed originated from their HQ) to be on the lookout for such traps. History repeats itself so be vigilant against such ploys. A few other similar mistakes and it would start rebranding itself in permanent negative colours. I must state that this is such a stupid slip that I have serious doubts that it really originates from the PL.
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Emmanuel Mallia
PN should have also complained how the church run www.newsbook.com.mt yesterday, friday, the day of reflection, covered the PN last mass meeting at Floriana, but did not have the decency of balancing it out , giving no coverage of the PL rally ! I have always insisted that RTK & Newsbook are cunningly PN dominated. The duty of the church is to preach Jesus Gospel , not her own ! The Maltese church spoke about MEPA, he intimate interest ! but never against gay marriages and adoptions !
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It seems that Daphne and Lou were well rehearsed for this paprata. Daphne being a journalist herself is more accountable at law for her acts then a blogger. Just when like a person entrusted with the enforcement of the law breaks the law himself. What she wrote was disgusting insulting the leader of the opposition and his wife. Daphne is doing exactly what, as she said happened in the 70s, and thinks she can justify her act by mentioning acts of 40 years ago. If anything she is being questioned under the present government however everyone knows that the police are doing nothing else but their job. Lou is clearly obstructing the law he thinks that he is above the law. Lets hope that things do change after today no matter who gets elected. What I cannot understand is how Lou and daphne think that such acts as happened yesterday eve could effect voting intentions in fact I am sure that after this paprata there will be many others like Dr Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando who will vote instead of abstaining.
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Ha nivvittimizzaw u nnehhu l-dawk li jdejuna, imbaghad... Malta Taghna Lkoll !!!!
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The law may be an ass, but neither DCG nor anybody else is entitled to break it. Personally, I believe that one day's silence in 33-66 days of electioneering is not anti-democratic. There are 24 countries, amongst whom Australia, Canada and New Zealand plus five EU member states, which prohibit active electioneering in the final hours before an election. If DCH believes the prohibition is anti-constitutional, all she needs to do is file a constitutional case
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A "messa in sena" by the GonziPNisti. Shame on you for trying to unbalance the democratic process.
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I wonder if we can re-install the law that burns witches at the stake!