Etienne Grech’s question starts at 18:37
The three sons of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia shot down Labour MP Etienne Grech at a Council of Europe debate today, after he questioned whether their mother’s murder was in any way linked to her writings about Opposition leader Adrian Delia.
“Did your mother ever encounter any difficulties of freedom of expression during her lifetime or was she able to write whatever she wanted?” Grech – who recently said Malta has too much freedom of expression – asked. “I have followed a lot of her writings and she had impeccable English and had some very good stories, including stories on organised criminals transporting fuel. Some of her stories were political and others weren’t, but in her last three months, your mother wrote a lot about the Opposition leader. Do you think this might have had an effect on the tragedy?”
Matthew Caruana Galizia criticised Grech for his “outrageous” line of questioning.
“She was killed for what she wrote, for God’s sake. How can you possibly say that she was free to express herself?” he asked.
“Grech failed to introduce himself, but he’s a member of Malta’s governing party, and he was clearly sent here to imply that our mother was killed for writing about the Opposition leader,” his brother Paul added.
Labour MP Etienne Grech with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Grech tried to recover by referring to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination as a “tragedy” but one of her sons instantly countered by saying their mother’s murder “was not a tragedy but a crime”.
“Yes, it is a crime and the government is doing all it takes to solve it,” Grech said. “It has has left no stone unturned, it has even brought experts from the FBI and Europol to assist in the investigation and indeed the three criminals who are highly suspected of having planted the bomb are facing justice. Obviously, further investigations are being done to try and capture those who ordered them to do what they did, yet obviously this requires a lot of police investigations.”
“What I was saying is that this tragedy…er…crime, has hit Malta very badly and has caused a lot of sorrow for everyone, including myself. Yet we still tolerate freedom of expression in Malta; you can write what you like and criticise whoever, and your only redress is the press laws. We have even removed criminal libel. Do you think steps have been taken in Malta with regards freedom of speech?”
Andrew Caruana Galizia countered by noting Labour MPs had recently rejected a motion by Opposition MP Chris Said, which called for a board of inquiry to investigate all their mother’s writings.
“What legitimate reason was there for the government to stop this motion from going through?” he asked. “Why isn’t there a public inquiry into why the police failed to investigate her writings? The government is not removing criminal libel for ongoing cases, which were all against my mother. My mother would have had to continue fighting criminal libel cases against her and would have had to fight a constitutional case to have that law repealed.”