The Maltese state’s failure to protect Daphne Caruana Galizia’s life led to a sharp decline in Malta’s ranking in the RSF World Press Freedom Index (WPI). The public inquiry into the circumstances of Daphne’s assassination, which closed in July 2021, found that her murder was both predictable and preventable and that the Maltese state must shoulder responsibility for the culture of impunity that made her murder possible.
The public inquiry was only brought about by an intensive two-year international campaign, resisted by Malta’s government. It is largely thanks to the public inquiry that Malta’s position in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index has marginally improved. The country’s ranking crashed from 47 to 81 following Daphne’s murder. In 2022, it moved up three places thanks to the public inquiry, vindicating the ongoing campaign for the Maltese state to be held accountable and for the creation of an enabling environment for public interest journalism.
It is only if the problems identified by the public inquiry are fully and properly addressed that journalists will be able to work freely and without fear of retribution. Until then, Malta will continue to occupy the low WPI ranking it deserves.