The assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana has been on everybody’s lips these past two weeks, but with a notable exception – the bishop of Gozo Mario Grech.
Lovin Malta formally asked Grech to comment on the assassination last Thursday after people within the Church flagged to us how peculiar it was that he hadn’t spoken publicly about the incident.
“Like all other crimes, the killing of DCG [sic] is condemnable, but even more so because she was a journalist,” he responded “The fact that this piece of news shocked our society means there is a lot of good in the Maltese ethos, and this is something I think we should build on.”
“Now is the time for national unity – the more compact we are as a nation and the more we show solidarity with each other, the more we will be able to put up a strong front against criminality while at the same time keep Malta’s name raised high.”
“As a spiritual leader, I believe such situations should strengthen out resolve to spread the word of Christ because, when we help people meet Christ, we are also helping create a culture of civility, love and fraternity in which human rights are respected and in which there is no hatred or violence.”
The Church statement condemning Caruana Galizia’s assassination was only signed by Charles Scicluna
Grech’s late and brief response to Caruana Galizia’s assassination contrastswith the response of Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who condemned the journalist’s murder on the very day it happened. Unlike previous Church statements – such as the call on people to vote according to their conscience in the general election – the condemnation of Caruana Galizia’s assassination was only signed by Scicluna, and not by Mario Grech.
When asked why this was the case, a Curia spokesperson said the statement was “an initiative by the Archbishop of Malta, concerning a brutal murder which took place in the Archdiocese of Malta”.
Scicluna later penned a strongly-worded piece in the Malta Independent, in which he urged the government to use the occasion as a wake-up call to act more transparently with journalists.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna warned the government lacks transparency and accountability
“We, the people need the service of journalists in order to remain a free nation,” he said. “Journalists act in our name when they investigate abuse of power, spending from the public purse, and the general state of our country, irrespective of their allegiance to any political party. Such investigations must be done in the light of truth because their loyalty should lie in the pursuit of the common good and the principles of the Constitution and of the Republic of Malta, that on paper at least, still uphold the fundamental human rights.”
“The authorities must stop telling journalists: ‘We will not give you this information because it is sensitive’. It is astonishing that we do not have accountability and transparency in this country, but only have them paraded on billboards. We want facts not empty words.”