The 16th October of the year 2017 saw the murder of one of Malta’s most famous, and at times infamous journalists, Daphne Caruana Galizia. Tied with it, the death of freedom of speech, an irreversible scarring wound for journalism as we know it.
Throughout her years, Caruana Galizia has strived long and hard to bring to the Maltese population news about their leaders. Whether she appeared biased or not, whether you agreed with her views or not, this murder is completely unjustifiable.
Scrolling through Facebook and many of the groups online, most of the Maltese population is under shock, however you still find those people who write “kienet qed tistedina”; “she was inviting it”. the kind of statements that make you want to scream. No! She was not begging for it. No! No one deserves the right to be murdered in cold blood. She was a mother, a wife, a citizen, a journalist. Loved and hated, yes, but never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined we would be going through such motions on this dreadful day.
The question lies here: what did the murderer get out of this? Yes, she’s dead now, she won’t be writing more articles or blogs that put authority to shame (whether deservingly or not is up to you). But what does this say about them? What does this say about Malta in general?
If the belief was that her reporting and exposés were threatening Malta’s image and reputation, this act right here is threatening Malta’s image and reputation tenfold. The whole nation will be affected by this, yes Malta as a whole will suffer, and unfortunately there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it now.
And to all fellow writers, established and upcoming journalists out there, stand strong, fight back, don’t let this act discourage you. This country needs you, whether it believes it does or not.
Straying away from emotional speech, whether people read her for her harshly worded and sometimes questionably direct blogs leaving praise, to people who read about her being the Bidnija Witch and leaving her hate comments – everyone on this island knows who Daphne Caruana Galizia was.
What happened a few hours ago is a clear sign that we, as a nation, have absolutely no right to look down on countries being torn apart by violence. We have no right to speak about countries like Turkey and Russia who have been condemned for their heavy stance against freedom of speech if it concerns political figures. And we definitely have no right to look down on the US President Donald Trump’s speech against journalists.
It is also a mistake for people to go around claiming we’re going back to the 80s. This is a lie. Violence and threats against freedom of speech have been upon us ever since freedom of speech was ‘allowed’ and people started getting offended, as if their feelings mattered in the least compared to revealing truth.
It is true that there is no such thing as the right to offend, but there is definitely never the right to violently retaliate. This day will be marked as one more dark chapter in the struggle for truth to prevail.
To all my ex-colleagues still in the field of journalism, I wish you good luck and the strength to fight back against the tyranny of censorship. To anyone who contributes in any way to student media in the hopes of a potential future career, do not be disheartened.
The truth is not silenceable.
Nicole Borg is a currently a 4th year student studying Communications and Theatre Studies. She joined Insite as a writer and editor in 2014/2015. Following she progressed to join the media team as Publications Officer in 2015/16. Currently she is the Executive Editor of Insite Malta for the term of 2016/17.