Murdered Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia Honored by TI

Published: 23 October 2018

Daphne-Caruana-GaliziaDaphne Caruana Galizia

By Alex Cooper

Transparency International (TI) honored murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and Spanish whistleblower Ana Garrido Ramos with the 2018 Anti-Corruption Award at a ceremony held on Monday in Denmark.

Caruana Galizia had exposed corruption in the Maltese government before being brutally assassinated by a car bomb in October 2017 when leaving her home. Her investigations went all the way to the top of Malta’s government, including to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. He has been accused of allowing corruption in the administration to go unchecked.

Police investigations have been criticized by her family for not being fast enough or thorough enough.

“The bomb that took Daphne away from us extinguished the most powerful voice we ever had in our country’s fight for integrity. It also sought to rob us of the hope that her unwavering voice represented,” Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew Caruana Galizia said at the ceremony.

“Nothing will ever compensate for the journalist – let alone the person – we lost in her fight against corruption,” he added. “But this award reminds us not only that hope remains ours to keep but that a large part of the world is hoping with us. It is an overwhelming and deeply emboldening thought for everyone fighting to win her justice and uphold her legacy.”

The Anti-Corruption Award is given to groups and people working to expose and combat corruption and recipients are selected by a seven-person committee and a jury.

Garrido Ramos, the other recipient, has campaigned heavily for better protection for whistleblowers. She provided evidence of corruption in her former workplace, the Boadilla Town Hall. The evidence also showed corruption practices that went all the way up to Spain’s then-ruling People’s Party. Eventually this led to the fall of Mariano Rajoy’s government last summer.

“...citizens cannot sit idly by waiting for the world to change, each of us must be part of that transformation. That which is not fought for is never achieved. There are no impossible goals, only people who do not struggle to achieve them,” Garrido Ramos said.

Earlier this year, OCCRP was part of a group led by Forbidden Stories that continued Daphne’s work into Malta’s shady dealings. This continuation of Caruana Galizia’s work became known as the Daphne Project.

The ceremony was part of the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference, co-hosted with the Danish development cooperation agency (DANIDA).

It saw 45 countries, businesses and organizations endorse a statement promising new efforts against corruption. Aspects of the statement include working to eliminate tax havens, working better in joint investigations, supporting civil society groups working against graft, continuing to clamp down on money laundering and improving the implementation of international frameworks.

“These commitments are welcome and much needed,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International.

She emphasized the importance of the signatories recognising the crucial role of civil society, media and whistleblowers in combating corruption as well as showing their support for measures to protect them.

“However, over the years we’ve seen plenty of commitments to tackle corruption. What is needed is action, and we will track these new commitments to ensure they are not more empty promises,” she said.