This moment in Maltese history belongs to the people.
It belongs to the crowds who will gather in Valletta today (Sunday) brought out not by the call of a political party, as has almost always been the case, but by civil society organisations motivated by principle instead of partisanship.
It belongs to the mass of concerned citizens demanding a return to the basic rules they expect to be governed by: don’t cheat, don’t lie, don’t steal… don’t kill.
It belongs to the multitudes who are outraged that the norms of a just and fair society – equal treatment before the law and protection from abuse by the powerful – have been trampled underfoot.
It belongs to those who feel deeply betrayed that the people they trusted to lead them as a service to society have been exposed as self-serving in the extreme.
In a way, the day also belongs to independent journalists, foremost among them Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Journalism has had a major role in exposing and communicating the wrongdoings of those in power and holding them up to the bright light of public scrutiny. This is journalism that acts as the people’s watchdog, works for justice, upholds democracy and champions the rule of law.
We share the values of those who will gather in front of parliament today. The people’s fight is our fight.
For this reason, Times of Malta and other independent media houses have decided to endorse this afternoon’s protest and are urging the law-abiding members of society to attend.
We want to live in a democracy that respects the rules of the game
We back the protest because for as long as Joseph Muscat remains in office, the investigation into Daphne’s murder risks being tainted.
A fellow journalist was assassinated and there appears to be a conspiracy stretching to Castille that seeks to keep hidden the circumstances that surrounded it.
We want to live in a democracy that respects the rules of the game. Muscat subverted those rules when he shielded Konrad Mizzi and especially Keith Schembri from political responsibility for all those years.
By staying in place he has completely ripped up the rulebook. Muscat must go, now.
We also support the protest because, while we strive for fair, balanced and accurate reporting, there are moments in history when you cannot sit on the fence. We take a stance in line with our core values, as we have done on anything from environmental destruction to hate speech.
This is not just about Daphne. It is about state capture – about independent government institutions being taken over by a small group of people who believe they are above the law. This goes against everything we believe in as a media organisation.
We are also lending our voice to the protest because we want people to break through the self-imposed suppression of critical thinking that still grips our society and slay the culture of fear that too often prevents free expression.
The protest movement, until recently the domain of those who have organised monthly vigils for the assassinated journalist, has grown so large that it now transcends calls of justice for Daphne.
Not only does it cry out for the return of morality to politics but, by embracing the whole spectrum of political thought – liberals, conservatives and leftists – it is asking us to look beyond tribalism in politics.
Civil society is finding its voice and discovering its freedom to call out cronyism, corruption and injustice beyond political divisions or Facebook walls.
We also back the protesters today because history will not forgive us if we remain silent.
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