Maltese Government Responsible For Killing Of Noted Journalist

 According to an independent investigation, Malta's government must bear responsibility for fostering a "climate of impunity" that contributed to the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

A bomb in her leased automobile was detonated by a remote-controlled device on a rural lane near her house in October 2017, killing Caruana Galizia, a renowned Maltese anti-corruption journalist.

Her family had long claimed she was murdered because of her work revealing suspected government corruption, and her death caused a political crisis in the southern European country. In February, Vincent Muscat, one of the three men charged with her murder, pled guilty.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Robert Abela released the findings of the investigation, which began in December 2019. During a press conference, he stated that the board "Clearly establishes that the government was not directly engaged in the killing. However, it also emphasizes that the state must bear responsibility for severe flaws, particularly in governance and journalist protection."

"The State must bear responsibility for the assassination because it created an atmosphere of impunity generated from the highest levels in the heart of the administration within the Office of the Prime Minister that spread like an octopus to other entities," according to the public inquiry, which was conducted by one active and two retired judges.

The state also failed to "recognize as they should have the actual and imminent threats to Daphne Caruana Galizia's life, including from criminal intent of third parties," and failed to take reasonable efforts to prevent the threat.

"I feel duty-bound to apologize to the family of the late Mrs. Daphne Caruana Galizia and all those who have been harmed by this terrible event in our nation's history," Abela stated.

The assassination of journalist Caruana Galizia sparked outrage across Europe and sparked a long-running controversy that cost Abela's predecessor as prime minister, Joseph Muscat, his job. Muscat resigned in January 2020 but has always denied any guilt or participation in the journalist's killing. Vincent Muscat is not related to the past leader.

In a tweet on Thursday, Abela stated that the report "deserves a detailed analysis that goes beyond partisanship. Lessons must be learned, and changes must be pursued with more zeal."

The findings of the inquiry "confirm the conviction our family held from the moment Daphne was assassinated: that her assassination was a direct result of the collapse of the rule of law and the impunity that the State provided to the corrupt network she was reporting on," the Caruana Galizia family said in a statement.

The family expressed their hope that the results will lead to the arrest of the suspect "establishment of the rule of law in Malta, adequate journalistic protection, and an end to the impunity enjoyed by the corrupt authorities probed by Daphne. Daphne's efforts will continue to ensure that the Inquiry's recommendations have a long-term impact."

"This report is a watershed in the effort to ensure that the Maltese State is held accountable for its affirmative responsibility to safeguard journalists," the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation stated in a statement. "We urge the government to adopt the Inquiry's findings and announce its plan of action as soon as possible."