Daphne Caruana Galizia was a trailblazing investigative journalist in Malta, looking into high-level corruption in the country and running a divisive blog about it. But in October 2017, the 53-year-old was killed in a brutal car bomb assassination that left her family shook. Wondery’s ‘Who Killed Daphne?’ is a podcast that deals with the story behind Daphne’s death and how her son, Matthew, continued carrying on his mother’s unfinished work. So, let’s find out more about him then, shall we?
Who is Matthew Caruana Galizia?
The morning of the assassination started like any other for Daphne and Matthew, also an investigative journalist. They worked while sitting at the dining table, and Daphne left at around 3 pm for a bank appointment. Just minutes later, Matthew heard a loud explosion. Daphne’s rented car blew up because about a pound of TNT in the vehicle was remotely detonated. Matthew ran towards the sound and remembered, “I looked down, and there were my mother’s body parts all around me.”
Daphne, at the time, had been investigating the Maltese government’s plans to sell EU citizenship. This was one of the many cases she had worked on in addition to looking into the activities of Maltese political bigwigs, drug smuggling, and money laundering. Furthermore, Daphne had been threatened in the past with her dog’s throat cut and her family’s home targeted by an arsonist. But this time, she lost her life.
Matthew said, “I’ve never met anyone like my mother. She had the energy of 10 people. She could do so many things at the same time and accomplish so much. She never did anything half-heartedly; she did everything with passion and intelligence.” Matthew had worked on the Panama Papers with his mother, delving into corruption and misconduct at the highest levels in Malta.
Matthew remembered being surprised at how things went down after the papers leaked. He said, “We could see things were getting worse and worse in Malta. After the publication of the Panama Papers[in 2016], I expected prosecutions and resignations, but nothing happened. Instead, they went on the offensive against my mother, me, and other journalists. There was a heightened atmosphere of impunity.”
In the aftermath of Daphne’s death, Matthew took up the investigations that she started. He and a team of established journalists worked on the passport scheme and realized it was a fraud. Matthew said, “The people that are buying all these passports are not looking to move to Malta, not looking to live here, not looking to open a business here, not looking to invest in the country. They’re only looking to quickly obtain a European passport.”
Where is Matthew Caruana Galizia Today?
Matthew, his brothers, and their father set out with a single goal after Daphne’s death: to have justice for her death and her investigations and prevent something like this from repeating itself. Matthew said, “My guiding principle at the beginning was to do our best come what may. I now think that the process is almost as important as our goals.” In 2018, they set up the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation to pursue whoever killed Daphne and to provide avenues to support independent media, especially investigative journalists.
Matthew previously worked as a software developer for more than four years in the United Kingdom and Costa Rica. After that, he was a journalist and software engineer at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC. For the past three and a half years, Matthew has been the director of the foundation under his mother’s name. He currently lives in Bidnija, Malta, and has been outspoken on social media about the corruption in the country.
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