The EU is very sensitive to issues pertinent to journalism around the world. It particularly and rightfully reacts against incidents in which journalists are killed to be silenced. Neither the European Commission nor European Parliament (EP) remains indifferent to cases around the world in which journalists are murdered while working. Some sanctions might occasionally be imposed on these countries, which is more than necessary.
But as of late, the EU has confronted a crisis of journalism within its own borders. All the steps taken by the EU so far concerning press freedoms and the safety of journalists have to be valid for EU-based journalists as well. Otherwise, the EU's exemplary position and plausibility would be overshadowed.
Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in the EU country Malta, while she was performing her profession. Her focus on a corruption case cost Galizia her life. While she was doing research on allegations that Malta has turned into a land of tax fraud where many EU-based companies and illegal networks launder money, she was brutally murdered with a car bomb after being threatened.
Galizia's murder initially received harsh responses. EU-based politicians, nongovernmental organizations and governments condemned the assassination. People held memorials for her and condemned the perpetrators by taking to the streets in Malta and Brussels. They demanded the identification of the murderers and their abettors. Subsequently, the Maltese government opened an investigation to solve the murder and offered a 1 million-euro reward to find the journalist's killers. The killers have not been apprehended yet, while Galizia's tragic death has begun to be forgotten in Europe. But we did not forget her. EU values mean a lot to Turkey as an EU candidate country, and these values must not remain on paper. In addition, although journalists in Turkey do not receive threats against their safety or death threats, some groups in the EU blame Turkey based on claims that journalists in Turkey cannot freely do their jobs.
Why do they not show the same sensitivity toward Galizia, who was working to reveal a large-scale corruption and money laundering scandal that interests the EU? Aside from journalists' safety, the fight against mafia-esque illegal networks and corruption is also in question in the issue. Apparently, there are some serious allegations regarding the Maltese government and a number of renowned EU-based companies as well.
It is alleged that the government of an EU country cooperated with the mafia, and large companies from several EU countries use Malta for tax fraud. It is also alleged that an international mafia network, which commits inhumane offenses such as drug and human trafficking, turned Malta into a base for money laundering. These allegations might be true or not. We do not know yet. However, we know that a journalist investigating the allegations was brutally murdered. In this case, it is not enough for the European Commission to condemn the murder.
What has the commission done regarding the allegations on Malta? Is Europol doing anything on it? Have prosecutors and police departments in the relevant countries taken a step concerning the allegations of money laundering in Malta? Has an inquiry been launched on the issue at Eurojust? Galizia was probably targeted by an illegal, international network operating in the EU. Is the murder being investigated only within the borders of Malta? If so, searching for a result would hardly be possible.
Have EP members done anything other than condemn the murder? The EP must form a research commission to investigate the case.
We will follow all the developments in line with these questions. The EU and EU values now confront a major challenge in terms of unveiling the murder and fighting corruption.
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