Emotional funeral for murdered Maltese reporter
MOSTA - The funeral for Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, killed last month by a car bomb, is being held Friday at 14:00pm in Malta's largest church. Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Charles Scicluna at the Rotunda Parish Church in Mosta.
Ms. Galizia was a journalist and blogger, often writing harsh critiques about Maltese politicians, and this year published allegations that Prime Minister Muscat and his family used secret offshore bank accounts to hide payments made to them by the ruling family of Azerbaijan. Ms. Galizia’s sons have asked for the Prime Minister to step down following her murder. Ms. Galizia has been an influential writer in the country for years, with Politico journal referring to her as a “one-woman WikiLeaks” in exposing Maltese corruption.
The leaders of Malta have stated that they will not be attending the funeral. A spokesman for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat explained the decision as that Galizia’s family “has made it widely known that it does not wish the state authorities to attend.” The Maltese President has also decided not to attend the ceremony. Both the president and the prime minister were in the line of fire of Ms Caruana Galizia's writings.
Caruana Galizia was killed on Oct. 16 by a car bomb, in an unexpected attack that shocked newspapers around the world. An investigation has been launched, with aid from the FBI and the Europol, but so far no arrests have been made. Dutch experts were also brought in to assist in seeking clues from forensic evidence lifted from the scene of the crime, a few hundred metres from Caruana Galizia's home.
The Maltese government has offered a 1 million euro reward for information about the attack, and the EU executive has urged the Maltese authorities to find the “barbarous” assassins.
A national day of mourning has been declared for her funeral. Flags on all government buildings in Malta are being flown at half-mast, as a sign that “no attack on freedom of expression is accepted in Malta’s democracy.”
Among the people attending the ceremony are President Emeritus Eddie Fenech Adami and former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, is also expected to attend her funeral.
Net News and Church media Newsbook said today they will provide extensive TV, radio and online live coverage of the funeral. Newsbook later backtracked and said a special programme will be broadcast on RTK during the event.
However, Caruana Galizia’s sister Corinne Vella urged the media not to go down that route, in a Facebook post which was shared by her sisters Mandy Mallia and Helene Asciak. "The only people authorised to make any official announcement are the members of her family," Vella said. “No official announcement has been made.There will be no live broadcast of the funeral service. The family has not authorised the presence of any media in church and the burial will be private.”
“Any media presence at the funeral service or at the burial is unwanted, unwarranted, and unauthorised. Any information to the contrary is incorrect, unofficial, and deeply offensive to our family.” This decision reflects the international media attention garnered by the case, as speculations have been cast on the motive of her killing.