Maltese journalist Caroline Muscat has won the Prize for Independence in 2019’s Press Freedom Awards held in Berlin on Thursday night.

The Prize for Independence is awarded to journalists for resisting financial, political, economic or religious pressure.

Ms Muscat, a former news editor at Times of Malta, set up the portal The Shift News following the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017.

Reporters Without Borders, which gives out the awards, said that Ms Muscat exposed many cases of corruption implicating local politicians in a country where most media outlets are "subservient" to the government.

“Although the repeated target of gag suits, The Shift News has refused to comply with content take-down demands from Henley & Partners, a British firm that advises governments on residence and citizenship-by-investment policy.”

Ms Muscat said: "We don’t need to be heroes. The fact that some of us are being recognised as such says more about the countries we work in than it does about us. We are all made more vulnerable when justice is out of reach and impunity strengthens the hand of the corrupt.”

The Prize for Courage, given to journalists, media or NGOs who demonstrate courage in the practice, defence or promotion of journalism, was awarded to Saudi journalist Eman al Nafjan.

She spearheaded the Saudi women’s campaign for the right to drive and against Saudi Arabia’s oppressive male guardianship system. 

The Prize for Impact, given to journalists whose work has led to concrete improvements in journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism, or to an increase in awareness of these matters, was awarded to Vietnamese journalist and blogger Pham Doan Trang.

She is the founder of Luât Khoa, an online magazine that specializes in providing information about legal issues, and she edits another magazine which also helps Vietnamese citizens to defend their rights and resist the Communist Party’s arbitrary rule.