Guest post by Pat Azzopardi Preziosi

People hold up photos of assassinated anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and torches on mobile phones during a vigil to mark eleven months since her murder in a car bomb, in Valletta, Malta September 16, 2018. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

At 2:35 pm, exactly 11 months ago today, Daphne posted what was to become her final blog post before she was brutally murdered when she was blown up in her car just a few metres away from her home. The now famous last words she wrote were prophetic indeed. The situation was desperate, she claimed eleven months ago. The situation eleven months later is indeed even more so.

  • Our country is under siege again. The first two times, the adversary was an ‘outsider’ desperate to take control over the country. The adversary during this third siege is not an outsider at all: it is our own people’s representatives who have been condoning, not to say actively encouraging, the contemptible intolerance being shown towards anyone who openly dares to contradict or stand up to the government;
  • The government’s decision to cordon off the Great Siege Monument – where people spontaneously started placing candles and flowers eleven months ago because it is placed in front of the Law Courts from which all people of goodwill expect justice to be served – has ended up becoming an impromptu memorial crying out for justice not only for the slain journalist, but also for our country whose institutions have continued to be eroded.
  • Just yesterday, the removal of the banner, flowers and candles placed by members of civil society who are peaceably showing their displeasure towards the actions of official repression, and the blatant bullying and intimidation of a Newsbook journalist who was filming the dismantling of said banner and flowers show that the situation is truly becoming more desperate by the day.

Even a minority of one should feel free to show their displeasure towards the way that the country is being run. The government has to lead by example. Malta is not a Third World country. Malta is a full member of the European Union and as such, freedom of expression is a guaranteed right. The impunity with which people insult and denigrate those whose opinions differ from the opinions of the government has to be stopped before the country suffers yet another serious blow to its democracy.