Professionalism/The Case of Daphne Caruana Galizia

Daphne Caruana Galizia was a Maltese Journalist that reported on Malta’s corrupt government and she is considered to be Malta's most prominent journalist.[1] Galizia’s other roles included being an anti-corruption activist and writer. Her writing exposed the country’s political and financial corruption which garner both positive and negative attention. Galizia’s main work was uploaded to her blog, Running Commentary, and had over thousands of post before her passing.[2] Galizia had complete ownership of her blog, so she faced no forms of censorship. This unrestricted commentary attracted readers and blog site had hundreds of thousands of visitors. Galizia also worked for The Sunday Times of Malta and The Malta Independent whilst writing for her blog.

Corruption In MaltaEdit

Panama PapersEdit

The 2016 Panama Papers released 11.5 million files regarding Mossack Fonseca, an offshore law firm.[3] Mossack Fonseca was discovered to provide rich individuals and corporations a tax haven. The service incorporates companies in offshore jurisdictions and allows money to be hidden away from governments. Through the investigative work of Caruana Galizia, Maltese Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri were revealed to have connections to the offshore law firm.[4] Other political leaders were also found to have offshore connections.

While having assets stored away in offshore environments is legal, many of the users do not have the best intentions. Many of the users are found to be corrupt and criminals. The biggest form of crime is money laundering.[5]

Passports for SaleEdit

Malta is the host of a passport selling scheme, Investor Visa Programme (IIP), to attract wealth to the nation. The passport selling scheme is a fast track process to allow foreign citizens of other countries to purchase an EU passport. With an EU passport, holders can conduct businesses in EU territories. This introduces potential forms of organized crime by increasing the risk of money laundering, tax evasion. The buyers come from various countries and all have the commonality of being wealthy. Malta is not the only country conducting such services, many EU countries with less global presence are partaking. Reporters state, “We can say that at least €25bn have been invested in the EU since the start of this programme, more or less over the past decade - which corresponds to 100,000 visas sold and a 100,000 new residents and 6,000 new citizens.” Malta itself has made an estimated €700m.[6]

Connections to AzerbaijanEdit

Azerbaijan’s ruling families have a multitude of assets in the EU through a private bank in Malta according to Caruana Galizia. Throughout the EU, different anonymous companies/assets have been traced back to the same bank, Pilatus. These assets include Sofitel Hotel and Spa on Dubai’s Palm Island, Azerbaijan’s Gilan Holding, Hotel Redevelopment in Georgia, and Manufacturers in France. Other clients of the Bank include Maltese politicians who have close connections to the Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat. The president of Azerbaijan denounced Caruana Galizia’s findings and that the investigation by Western organizations was a ploy against Azerbaijan’s leaders.[7]

Maltese Political HistoryEdit

In 1964, Malta achieved independence from the British Empire through an independence referendum. The Nationalist Party, which had been founded in the 1800s and had led the independence struggle, came to power in the post-independence elections. Their origins in the elite of Italian society and Catholic institutions led to them leading the right wing of Maltese society. To this day, they have held a Christian democratic and conservative, free-market ideology.[8]

Their main opposition came from the Labour party. Formed in 1921 as the political front of the General Workers Union, the organization led the cause of syndicalism and socialism up till independence. In the 1950s, under the leadership of Dom Mintoff, the party would embrace third-worldism and would court the Soviet Union, Libya, and China.[9] Their opposition to the Catholic church helped the Nationalists hold power after independence.

With the two-party system in place, the Labour party came to power in the 1970s. This led to the nationalization of critical parts of the country, turning Malta into a “mixed economy”. Furthermore, social liberalization occurred with the decriminalization of homosexuality and the enshrining of gender equality.[10] Dom Mintoff’s authoritarianism, combined with a close election in 1981, led to street protests and violence between the two parties.[11]

The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a political realignment. The Nationalists moved left on the welfare state while the Labour party embraced neoliberalism. By the 2000s, both parties mainly fought over social policy, such as gay marriage.[12] It is in this environment that Daphne got her political education and start.

Caruana Galizia's Political EducationEdit

Caruana Galizia was born and raised in a professional class town called Sliema. She attended a prestigious Jesuit college, St Aloysius College.[13] Thus she initially held to conservative, pro-religious, politics and looked down on the working-class Labour. During the 1980s, she attended pro-democracy protests on the right.[14] She was arrested at one such protest, and the man who arrested her would eventually hold a high profile position in the Labour Party.[15]

The events of the 80s, along with her upbringing, thus led her to have an antipathy for the Labour Party. She celebrated the death of Dom Mintoff, posting “GLORY, GLORY, ALLELLUIAH…” on her website.[16] In her role as a journalist, she avoided investigating the Nationalist Party and wrote defensive pieces in regards to their role in Malta’s shipyard scandal. She turned on the Nationalist Party in 2014, when a right-wing populist ascended to the leadership.

Her general ideological outlook was conservative and technocratic. She embraced free-market reforms and neoliberal management of the economy. She derided the working class populism of the Labour Party as “peasant utilitarianism,”. She also rejected the populist movement of the Nationalist Party after the migration crisis in 2016. In general, she believed that Maltese society was “fundamentally criminal” and needed an enlightened, technocratic hand to guide as opposed to the mass politics embraced by both parties.[17]


Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated on October 16, 2017, in Bidnija, Malta via a car bomb at 53 years old. On that day, she also typed her last words in her blog, which were “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate”.[18] What remained of her body was found 80 meters away from the explosion by her son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, a 32-year old investigative journalist and software engineer.[19] Daphne’s murder was the sixth car bombing since the end of 2016 in Malta alone.[20]


Scerri Herrera, the on-duty magistrate arrived at the scene and called the site to be secured and preserved for foreign experts. Dutch experts handled the forensics and the FBI consulted on technical expertise. The Minister of Home Affairs Michael Farrugia announced that the police were given a black check to solve Daphne’s murder. Scerri Herrera was removed from the investigation and replaced on Daphne’s husband and other family members’ requests. According to Matthew Caruana Galizia, the investigation of his mother was “designed from the outset to be unsuccessful”.[21]

Daphe’s case also served to further advance distrust in the Malta police force, mainly due to how the police failed to issue a press conference more than 48 hours after the murder along with the need for assistance by the Dutch and the FBI. Daphe’s son Matthew also left scathing remarks on the Malta police force, calling it extremely corrupt, ineffective, and cowardly. Matthew said that an investigation conducted by officials who were not even persecuting people that his mother exposed was bound to be ineffective.

A year after the murder, the police had charged three men for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, but the investigation was still open and the compilation if evidence was ongoing. The mastermind behind the car bombing is still at large.[22]

No JusticeEdit

Daphne Caruana Galizia reported on government corruption, but even a year after the murder, no politician has been questioned. The investigation, while open, has stalled, and there are major concerns about the case. Many believe the Maltese government’s investigation is not independent, impartial, nor effective. Daphne also died without access to her bank accounts, as Malta’s economy minister had gotten the courts to freeze her accounts.[23] The persons behind the multiple death threats and attacks on Daphne and her family have yet to be identified or punished. Daphne also died with 43 libel cases pending against her, many by high-level officials of Malta. After her death, many of these lawsuits were pursued against her husband and sons.[24]

In order to protest the lack of justice for Daphne, a memorial was erected and consequently repeatedly demolished by government workers. After her death, there are still continued attacks on her reputation in order to discredit her work and words.

Professional EthicsEdit

Daphne Caruana Galizia can be considered a professional because no matter what hardships she faced, she remained true to her cause. Her life’s work was investigative journalism, and she worked tirelessly to expose the corruption in Malta. Even though endless threats and attacks on her and her family, she never gave up, which eventually led to her death. Daphne Caruana Galizia put helping her country and her people above her own life, and she died fighting for what she believed in.