[WATCH] Hundreds attend mass and vigil in honour of Daphne Caruana Galizia

Six months to the day of her murder, people in Valletta commemorate slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and demand justice be done • Archbishop Charles Scicluna celebrated mass in honour of the assassinated journalist, as vigils are held around the globe

Hundreds attended a vigil in front of the law courts marking six months since the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Hundreds attended a vigil in front of the law courts marking six months since the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Hundreds attend mass and vigil in honour of Daphne Caruana Galizia

Valletta joined several other cities in Europe and the US in commemorating slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, six months to the day of her murder.

A sizeable crowd gathered at the foot of the Great Siege monument in front of the law courts, which has become a makeshift memorial for the journalist.

The gathering was preceded by a Mass at the St Francis church in Valletta, presided by Archbishop Charles Scicluna. In his homily, Scicluna called on society to unite and demand justice in the face of those who wanted to stifle freedom of expression.

Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday

Carrying black and white photos of the journalist, people laid flowers and candles at the foot of the monument.

Messages calling for justice were delivered by several speakers, including Pauline Ades-Mevel from Reporters Without Borders.

Ades-Mevel emphasised the need for “full justice” to be meted out. “Though arrests have been made, we emphasise the need for full justice: Until those who planned the attack; until all perpetrators, including the masterminds behind her murder, are fully prosecuted, journalists will work in fear and we do not that.”

She then picked on the famous quote from Caruana Galizia’s last blogpost, insisting that it was not crooks that were everywhere but “we are everywhere”.

Not a normal country

Occupy Justice activist, Pia Zammit in an impassioned speech called on the people present to continue the fight for justice and help make Malta a normal country.

Zammit took pot shots at Maltese society for allowing the country to become an abnormal country.

Reiterating the phrase coined by Caruana Galizia – Malta is not a normal country – Zammit criticised students, who she said should be out protesting rather than choosing to turn up for a social media event, with reference to Saturday’s ‘Oh My Malta’ event organised by Facebook vlogger Nas Daily.

She insisted Malta was not a normal country because thousands would have been out on the streets to demand justice for a journalist murdered for telling the truth.

Zammit said it was incomprehensible for a government official to be allowed to call activists whores. “But Malta is not a normal country,” she insisted, to repeated applause.

She described Malta as a country where corruption was the order of the day and urged people to make their voice heard and convince people “to remove their blinkers”.

“We are in this for the long haul. Together we will keep on fighting until Malta can be called a normal country,” Zammit said, her voice breaking.

'Joseph Muscat has a duty towards all of us not just the 40,000'

Blogger Manuel Delia blamed the government for allowing corruption to fester and bring the whole country to shame.

“We are not ashamed of being Maltese but ashamed because the country we love has been occupied by the corrupt and the murderous,” Delia said, hitting back at what he described as the standard reply of Labour sympathisers that Joseph Muscat won an election with 40,000 votes.

“They threatened us and jeered us because we told them what was wrong… but Joseph Muscat is responsible for all of us; he is our Prime Minister and is responsible for all of us and not just the 40,000,” Delia said.

He then called on economists, lawyers, journalists and public officials not to make compromises with the truth, irrespective of how big the temptation to do so is.

Reflecting on the criticism directed at the archbishop in the wake of a controversial tweet last week, Delia said those who wanted to silence those who spoke against corruption did not want the truth to emerge.

“Who killed Daphne, did so because he did not want the truth to emerge. We are seeing fear and anger by those who fear the truth but our response should be calmness, rationality and understanding to convince others of the need to unite behind the truth,” Delia said.

The gathering was also addressed by former PN leadership contender Alex Perici Calascione. Saluting the Caruana Galizia family, Perici Calascione called on journalists to keep power to account without fear or favour. He said battling corruption was the mission “of our times”.

Vigils were held in Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Washington, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Brussels.

Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb on 16 October last year, shortly after leaving her home in Bidnija. Three men have been charged with her murder, however it is not yet known who commissioned her killing.

Since her assassination, Caruana Galizia has been awarded with seven international awards and honours, including the Person of the Year award by Italian daily La Repubblica and the Tully Award for Free Speech by Syracuse University in the US.

On the day marking six months since her death, a consortium of 18 news organisations announced they had collected over 750,000 files and official documents in order to complete and publish the stories of the slain journalist.

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