A dark day for democracy: Facebook in black, Budget speech by Opposition leader suspended

Reactions of shock by the Maltese nation by the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was involved in a car explosion at around 3pm

Daphne Caruana Galizia
Daphne Caruana Galizia

Malta is shocked and reeling from the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, following a powerful car bomb at around 3pm on Triq il-Bidnija on Monday, 16 October.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat called it a "black day for freedom of expression", and addressed a press conference at Castille at 4:30pm.

Many others have turned to social media sites to express their shock and grief, including Nationalist Party Adrian Delia, who said "we shall not be silenced", in a tweet.

READ MORE Who was Daphne Caruana Galizia?

Facebook users changed their profile pictures to black user profiles, devoid of any text, to symbolise the seriousness and tragedy of the event.

Tweets reacting with shock at the murder came from European Parliament president Antonio Tajani, former AD chairpersons Arnold Cassola and Michael Briguglio, and MaltaToday managing editor Saviour Balzan expressed their grief at the murder.

The Institute for Maltese Journalists condemned the murder. “This is a shocking case for journalists, directly impacting the right to freedom of expression. The IGM expresses solidarity with the Caruana Galizia family, and appeals to the Police to do all it that is possible to find those culpable for this serious crime. This is an ugly day for democracy.

“On this dramatic day, the IGM affirms the determination of every journalist worthy of their name, not to let this tragedy undermine their will and to keep upholding their duty to society and report without fear and favour all that is in the public interest and of interest to society.”

Gay rights lobby MGRM, the human rights NGOs Aditus Foundation, Integra Foundation, the Critical Institute and the Platform of Human Rights Organisation in Malta, extended their condolences to the family of Caruana Galizia and expressed their concern at the "threat to freedom of speech that her violent murder poses". They urged the government to ensure that law enforcement are "adequately resourced" in order for necessary investigations to be conducted. 

They also requested an independent inquiry into "whether the police took the requisite measures to protect the victim", as they claimed that Caruana Galizia  had "reported threats on her life" in the past days. 

The German MEP Sven Giegold, Green coordinator on the Parliament's inquiry committee on money laundering and tax evasion (PANA), said he was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Caruana Galizia.

"Daphne played a vitally important role in unearthing serious allegations of money laundering and corruption in Malta, including
those involving senior figures in the Maltese government. It is too early to know the cause of the explosion but we expect to see a
thorough investigation. Such incidents bring to mind Putin's Russia, not the European Union. There can be absolutely no tolerance for
violence against the press and violations of the freedom of expression in the European Union."

European People's Party (EPP) President Joseph Daul also made a statement.

"I have learnt with shock about the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in a car explosion a few hours ago. Daphne Caruana Galizia has dedicated her life to uncovering the truth through her reporting, and we mourn such a great loss. She was an investigative journalist of the highest caliber, and her work on the Panama Papers has made the world a more transparent and a fairer place. Following such a horrific crime, we call on the appropriate authorities to launch an immediate investigation in order to shed light on this unspeakable act of violence and bring those responsible to justice. 

"I offer my deepest condolences and prayers to Daphne Caruana Galizia's family and loved ones. This is a very sad day for Malta and for the free world, which has lost a champion of democracy and free speech."

The Malta Developers Association condemned without any reservations the hideous murder. “MDA steadfastly believes that Malta is a democratic and civil country where freedom of expression is paramount and disagreements are part of normal life. Only the courts have the right to censor any abuse of this freedom since Malta is a country where the rule of law prevails. MDA publicly expresses its sincere condolences to her husband and her family.”

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