The Current

Sister of slain Maltese reporter fights to end impunity for crimes against journalists

Corinne Vella says her sister, journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, was killed for exposing high-level corruption involving Maltese government officials. She wants justice and is calling on the government to launch a public inquiry.

Corinne Vella wants an end to impunity for crimes her sister exposed

Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, seen in a 2011 photo, was killed by a car bomb on Oct. 16, 2017 in Malta. (Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters)

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Corinne Vella has been pushing for justice for her slain sister for over a year.

The investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was killed by a car bomb outside her home in Malta on Oct. 16, 2017. Caruana Galizia was known for her reporting on high-level political corruption involving government officials.

Vella believes her sister's death is connected to her "commitment to tell the truth" in her reporting. She wants a public inquiry to investigate whether her life could have been saved.

"It really is clear. There has been an escalation of threats against her and the impunity for the crimes she exposed enabled her murder, creating a climate where it is entirely possible," she told The Current's guest host Laura Lynch.

"All the crimes she exposed, all the people she's exposed — they have gone unpunished," she said, adding until those people are punished everyone is at risk.

Candles burn to commemorate the slain investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. (Axel Schmidt/Reuters)

According to the United Nations, in the past 12 years, over 100 journalists around the world have been killed for doing their  job or about one death every four days.

In nine out of 10 cases, the killers go unpunished, reports UNESCO.

To highlight the brutal consequences journalists face in their work, the UN recognizes Nov. 2, as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

Protecting Journalists

More than a year into Caruana Galizia's case, Vella said there's been no investigation by the Maltese government even though she was told "no stone will be unturned."

"Obviously, there's no interest in protecting journalists because the one thing government can do directly ... is to set up a public inquiry," Vella told Lynch.

"An inquiry would also teach the government lessons about what needs to be done to protect journalists the day," she added.

A banner with the photo of the Malta police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar is laid on the floor outside police headquarters during a spontaneous protest following a rally to honor Caruana Galizia. (Rene Rossignaud/Associated Press)

Vella believes justice for her sister's murder must include everybody involved "without fear or favour," she said.

"But more importantly in the long run and for everybody's safety, it also means ending impunity for all the crimes she exposed."

Listen to the full conversation, about the dangers journalists face at work, by clicking on the audio near the top of this page. 

Written by Lisa Ayuso. Produced by Caro Rolando and Donya Ziaee.