A Maltese youth who wrote his political communication thesis on the way Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination was covered in the press has urged society to reflect on whether its idolisation of politicians left fertile ground for the murder to take place.
“The country is far away from talking abut national unity if we cannot even realise what is dividing us in the first place,” Neil Smart Costantino said yesterday at a vigil in Malta to commemorate the late journalist.
“How often did us citizens look in the mirror since Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder and ask ourselves if we could have done better?”
“If the starting point is that people in power felt comfortable rubbing shoulders with the people allegedly behind the murder of the country’s most prominent journalist, what role did the public play to allow this to happen?”
“Is it possible that our fixation with blue and red [PN and PL] and our idolisation of politicians blinded us to the point that we glorified them even though they reached these extremes? I think we all know the answer.”
Warning that journalists and activists often face harsh criticism when asking uncomfortable questions to politicians, Smart Costantino suggested that people in power want the press to become a ‘yes press’.
“If you ask questions, you will get labeled negative or attacked and you can expect the supporters of that party to turn against you. If we’re not careful as a nation, the things we saw happen against Daphne Caruana Galizia will repeat themselves.”
“Daphne was attacked consistently by the people she investigated and unfortunately few people supported her. We often hear of people who hated Daphne despite having never read a word she read.”
“Have we ever asked ourselves why? She was often called a witch and a biċċa blogger, and even after her death, some articles don’t even refer to her by her full name as though out of shame.”
He urged more youths to become “responsible and active” citizens and apply more pressure on the powers that be for the sake of the country’s future.
“The people must look in the mirror and say they’ve enough of politicians who play with our emotions and dehumanise journalists and people who ask questions. When Daphne needed our support we held back, maybe out of fear. The least we can do for Daphne and her family is to fight for her, the truth and justice.”