Her work was praised as instrumental in igniting the panama papers investigation, and she’s was deemed a “one women wikileaks.” But just thirty minutes after filing her final blog post, criticizing the Maltese government, investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in an explosion that sent her car careening off the road.
The Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat stated her death was the result of a “barbaric attack,” that assaulted the very nature of freedom of expression. He denounced the attack while also referring to Caruana Galizia as “one of my harshest critics, on a political and personal level.”
In the past Caruana Galizia has been critical of Muscat’s government, and in her last blog entry referred to Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Shembri as a “crook,” and accusing him, with the aid of others, of insulating Panama so it would be safe from taxation. The piece was centred on a libel claim the prime minister’s chief of staff had brought against a former opposition politician over comments the latter made about corruption.
Through her popular website Running Commentary, Caruana Galizia was often the ire of her subjects and faced multiple libel suits from Muscat, opposition leader Adrian Delia and Economy Minister Christian Cardona. But it was also Delia who stated that her death was “political murder,” laying the blame at Muscat’s feet in parliament on Monday night.
As an investigative journalist, Caruana Galizia was known for her rabbling rousing and tenacity in which she would chase a story. In working on the Panama Papers she helped expose over 140 politicians from more than 50 countries with alleged connections to tax havens.
The Panama Papers project, which involved the collaboration of 100 media outlets, including the Star, won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting this spring. The team of journalists from 80 countries poured over 11.5 million leaked files amassed from Mossack Fonseca — the law firm at the pit of the international white-collar crime scandal specializing in the development of offshore agencies.
In June, Muscat was sworn in for a second term following snap elections he called to reinforce his government, as the Panama Papers’ leak indicated his wife owned an offshore company, which she denies.
Read the full story over at the Toronto Star.