It’s a vicarious pride, the sort I would feel when a Maltese athlete wins a medal in a tournament or — all right I confess it — a Maltese singer does well in the Eurovision.
That sort of thing is usually a community feeling but in today’s democracy most people are oblivious of journalism or outright hostile to it.
On behalf of an ungrateful nation, Caroline Muscat deserves thanks. She makes us look good in the eyes of the world, or at least better. Malta is not just famous for artful dodgers and brothel creepers, for money launderers and passport kings, for sanctions busters and oil smugglers, for bent coppers and fishing hoarders.
Malta is also famous for its brilliant journalists. The name of Daphne Caruana Galizia is dropped by Meryl Streep to legitimise her funny take on being a victim of the Panama Papers by association with an altogether more serious side of the story, a journalist who was killed telling it.
Daphne has been recognised and awarded worldwide. Politico listed her as one of the most influential Europeans when she was still alive. Just how influential was then confirmed by all the awards and recognitions she was given posthomously.
Matthew Caruana Galizia was on the team that won a Pulitzer Prize. A Pulitzer-effing-prize.
And Caroline Muscat is nominated for this year’s RSF award for independence in journalism. This is not the Oscars. The achievement is not in “winning” the reward. It’s on being on the same list as journalists worldwide who distinguish themselves for being servants only to the truth.
I have not heard the Maltese journalists’ institute congratulating Caroline Muscat for her remarkable achievement. But whatever they may feel about it she’s just made their life safer. Those among them who do proper, independent, risky journalistic work know the world is watching thanks to her. And while the world watches, we’re all a little bit safer.
Good job, madam. Go get them.