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Malta: A Poetry Memorial for Daphne Caruana Galizia

Thursday 26 August 2021 - 8:00am

For Daphne Caruana Galizia (Book Designed by Hossam Fazulla)

The PEN Community is proud to publish a collection of poems dedicated to Malta’s leading investigative journalist and anti-corruption campaigner, Daphne Caruana Galizia, assassinated on 16 October 2017. A protest site calling for justice for Caruana Galizia was repeatedly destroyed by the Maltese authorities until the Maltese Constitutional Court found the government’s actions in breach of fundamental human rights. PEN International devised a poetry memorial on the second anniversary of her murder, as a tribute to her courage and her dedication to freedom of expression. New poems were added to the memorial today – what would have been her 57th birthday – following an earlier call for submissions by PEN Malta.

Jennifer Clement, PEN International President, said:

‘Daphne Caruana Galizia would have been 57 today. PEN International’s poetry memorial is a tribute to her courage and her fearlessness. As we continue to honour her memory and bravery, we are reminded of the shocking and relentless harassment and threats she and her family have had to endure, which continue to this day. Daphne Caruana Galizia was targeted because of her work, because she dared to express her opinions, because she refused to be silenced. She stood up against the highest levels of corruption and paid the ultimate price. Her legacy lives on. We stand alongside her family in their fight for full justice and accountability’.

Immanuel Mifsud, PEN Malta, said:

‘As we launched our call for submissions to the PEN International Poetry Memorial for Daphne Caruana Galizia, we were humbled by the responses received. Each poem is a reminder of the impact that she continues to have not just in Malta, but across the world. We call on the Maltese authorities to act on the findings of a recently-concluded public inquiry into her killing and to urgently ensure better protection of journalists and freedom of expression in Malta.’

You can read poems written to honour her legacy here.

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Background information

Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s best-known investigative journalist and anti-corruption campaigner, was assassinated on 16 October 2017 when a car bomb detonated as she drove away from her home in Bidnija. She was 53 years old. The government whose corruption she investigated, repeatedly obstructed the path to justice for Caruana Galizia and her family, including by delaying a long-awaited public inquiry into her assassination. Dozens of civil defamation lawsuits continued against her posthumously. Meanwhile, human rights defenders and journalists campaigning on her case have been subjected to serious pressure, harassment and acts of reprisal. So far, eight men have either admitted to or been charged with complicity to kill Caruana Galizia – including alleged mastermind Yorgen Fenech.

On 29 July 2021, a landmark public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia published its conclusions, finding that ‘the State has to shoulder responsibility for the assassination because it created an atmosphere of impunity, generated from the highest levels in the heart of the administration of the Office of the Prime Minister and like an octopus spread to other entities like regulatory institutions and the police, leading to the collapse of the rule of law.’ PEN International calls on the Maltese authorities to accept the Board of Inquiry’s detailed recommendations, to publish a plan of action on how they will be implemented and to ensure better protection of journalists going forward.

For further details contact Aurélia Dondo at PEN International, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338 email: Aurelia.dondo@pen-international.org