The family of Daphne Caruana Galizia have acknowledged Prime Minister Robert Abela’s apology  in the wake of the public inquiry into the journalist's murder but now expect accountability from everyone identified as culpable.

Speaking during a press event discussing the findings of the inquiry, Daphne's son Paul said the family accepted the apology and agreed that “it was owed to the entire country”. 

“We have no plans to meet the prime minister but we would if he offered a meeting,” he said.

“We accept the apology and totally agree that it is owed to the entire country that has been put through this incredible trauma.

“We think there should be complete accountability for every single failing identified, by whoever the person is. We know there are still people who have yet to face any accountability for their actions and we won’t be letting go of this.” 

An inquiry into Caruana Galizia's murder, published on Thursday, found that the Maltese state bore responsibility for the assassination as it had enabled a "culture of impunity". 

That culture led to Caruana Galizia being increasingly isolated as she took on the nexus of politics and big business, with authorities unresponsive to evident risks to her life. 

The government had "created an atmosphere of impunity, generated from the highest echelons of the administration inside Castille, the tentacles of which then spread to other institutions, such as the police and regulatory authorities, leading to a collapse in the rule of law,” they said in their report. 

Paul Caruana Galizia welcomed the inquiry's findings about the dehumanisation campaign that his mother had been subjected to.

That conclusion "restores her humanity," he said. 

"We’re finally recognising the serious physical harm posed by political propaganda. The risks to her life were obvious to everyone, except those entrusted to protect her life."

Family's struggle to get an inquiry

The family’s Maltese lawyers Therese Comodini Cachia and Jason Azzopardi, as well as their British solicitor Caoilfhionn Gallagher, detailed the struggle to get the public inquiry off the ground, meeting strong resistance from the Maltese government following the murder in 2017, and fighting off threats made to the independence of its lines of inquiry.

Comodini Cachia said that the family hoped the way forward would be to “study all recommendations made in the report and consider their implementation in a non-partisan manner”. 

“We need an impartial committee of experts and journalists to participate in this process on equal footing and study what sort of reforms need to be introduced in the medium and long term,” she said. 

“This is not quite what the Prime Minister promised in parliament today. Reform needs to be completely independent and non-partisan to start a process of reconciliation and healing and create a climate in which journalists are protected.”

“There must be a stop to political rhetoric that denigrates journalists and instead foster an environment that boldens the fourth estate and strengthens our democracy.”

Reacting to the report in parliament on Friday, Abela said that the way Malta’s state functions is “unrecognisable” from the time he took over the premiership in January 2020, following Joseph Muscat's resignation in the wake of national anti-corruption protests.

He told MPs that he had committed to a programme to implement the inquiry board’s recommendations.

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