Watch: ‘Show commitment to freedom of expression; leave flowers and candles here’

“If the Government of Malta would like to show its commitment to freedom of expression then let’s see these flowers and candles here tomorrow” said Naomi Klein. The Canadian investigative journalist, author and social activist Naomi Klein visited the makeshift memorial to assassinated investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Klein was invited to Malta for the annual Book Festival organized by the National Book Festival.

Klein was replying to a question by after she made her statement in front of the Great Siege Monument which was closed off this week. The site, is where civil society activists have repeatedly made a makeshift memorial for Caruana Galizia and where they constantly remind the Government of their calls for justice.

When asked what in tangible terms she meant about the shadow economy of which she spoke about in her statement, Klein explained that people would usually think of shadow economy as something illegal however she pointed out, that the biggest crisis the world faced was that shadow economy was legal with laws created by very powerful people in the interest of the wealthiest people on the planet so that the latter did not have to pay their share of taxes and face public scrutiny. Klein noted how Malta decided that its niche in the global economy was to provide protection for such people who wanted to hide their money and launder their reputation.

Klein continued to explain that the Maltese Government gave assurances that everything was above board and that the Government was committed to upholding checks and balances. Klein warned that if that was true then it included protecting journalistic freedom. She went on to say that what the Government could do right now in tangible terms was to stop destroying the memorial. She explained that by tolerating speech even when it is uncomfortable was a powerful way of showing commitment to journalistic freedom and freedom of expression. She reiterated that the Government would then have to show its commitment by allowing protest which includes both people protesting on the street and having the memorial for the slain journalist in place. She concluded by saying that the flowers and candles at the makeshift memorial tomorrow, in an invitation to the Government to show its commitment to journalistic freedom and freedom of expression.

Naomi Klein is a Canadian author, social activist and documentary producer. Her works focuses on globalization and capitalism. She is also an award-winning journalist and has contributed on The New York Times amongst others.