The Daphne
Project

EXPLORE
DAPHNE’S STORIES

Daphne Project: every story published so far

Major news organizations from around the world collaborated in a unique investigation to keep Daphne Caruana Galizia’s stories alive

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EU justice chief to press case during Malta visit

Věra Jourová says she will travel to island in coming months, piling pressure on authorities

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Watch: Joseph Muscat faces 'shame on you' protests in London

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was countered by a group of protesters as they arrived for an event in London hosted by Henley & Partners on Friday night.

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OUR
INVESTIGATION

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Even if you succeed in stopping a single messenger, you will not stop the message.

45

Journalists

For 5 months, reporters from 15 countries collaborated on this unique endeavor to keep Daphne Caruana Galizia’s stories alive

30

Years

Daphne Caruana Galizia had been investigating corruption and organized crime in Malta for 30 years when she was murdered

750,000

documents

To bring Daphne’s stories to you, participating journalists pored over a massive number of files and official documents

18

News Organizations

Major news organizations from around the globe partnered with us to defeat censorship in this unique project

530

Journalists Killed

According to UNESCO, 530 journalists have been killed in just 5 years, between 2012 and 2016

1

Secure Platform

The team shared resources and leads using a secure digital solution set up by leading investigative reporting platform OCCRP

HOW
DID IT BEGIN?

They killed the journalist. Not the stories.

When a reporter is murdered, we must take over their investigation

by Laurent Richard

This opinion piece was published in The Guardian on April 16, 2018.

 

Journalists collaborated, and those who tried to halt Daphne Caruana Galizia’s work in Malta will soon know they failed

 

You killed the messenger. But you won’t kill the message.

Over the past six months 45 journalists from 15 different countries have been working in secret to complete and publish investigations by the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed on 16 October 2017.

Cooperation is without a doubt the best protection. What is the point of killing a journalist if 10, 20 or 30 others are waiting to carry on their work? Whether you’re a dictator, the leader of a drug cartel or a corrupt businessman, exposure of your crimes is your biggest fear. Journalists are the enemy of the corrupt ecosystem that you have constructed. But what if this exposure becomes global, and the message amplified? Wherever you go, you will be questioned by the world’s press. Whatever you are trying to hide will be magnified.

And this is the mission of our new international platform, Forbidden stories: a network of journalists who are ready to take over whenever a journalist is imprisoned or assassinated. The idea is to ensure the survival of stories.

The 45 journalists who collaborated on the Daphne Project, including reporters from the Guardian, have one clear goal: to inform the public about corruption and money-laundering in Malta, within the European Union, drawing on evidence that Daphne Caruana Galizia courageously revealed over the course of 30 years.

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murderers must know they failed. They took the life of a 53-year-old journalist and mother of three children. But whoever ordered her murder, wherever they may be today, has lost. In the coming days, the latest investigations that she was working on will be shared with millions of citizens around the world.

The Daphne Project is the first Forbidden Stories cross-border investigation – a venture I started three years ago, after a tragic event.

On 7 January 2015, my office neighbours, the journalists and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, were massacred by terrorists from Yemen’s al-Qaida branch. The office of the press agency where I am working, Première Lignes, was just opposite Hebdo’s. By chance, I arrived at the office a few minutes after the assailants had left. As I reached the offices of Charlie Hebdo, I was faced with the horror of seeing colleagues lying suddenly silent, motionless, dead.

In 20 years of work I have covered several conflicts, including Iraq and Kashmir. I’ve investigated dictatorships. But this time it had happened in my close environment. Journalists killed for their drawings. This experience convinced me of the need for a “journalistic” response to crimes committed against the press. To defeat censorship through collaborative journalism.

In creating our platform, we have been inspired by similar initiatives. In 1976 the American journalist Don Bolles was killed when his car exploded in Phoenix, Arizona. In the days that followed, Investigative Reporters & Editors brought together 38 journalists from around the US to finish the investigation that the Arizona Republic journalist had started. In 2015, when the investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova was locked up in Azerbaijan, a dozen colleagues from the Organised Crime Corruption Reporting Project also pursued her investigation into the corruption and tax evasion of the ruling family in Baku. Just as courageous were the journalists from the Brazilian nonprofit organisation, ABRAJI, who carried on the work started by the reporter Tim Lopez, who was burned alive in 2002 by drug traffickers in a favela in Rio de Janeiro.

In 2018, journalists continue to be murdered for their work on toxic waste trafficking, tax evasion, corruption and human rights violations. This censorship is depriving millions of citizens of information that is fundamental for their societies and the future of their countries.

It’s up to us journalists to ensure a “Streisand effect” for these investigations that have been suppressed. In 2002, when the singer, Barbara Streisand filed a complaint to remove images of her Malibu home from a website site about erosion of the Californian coast. Filing a complaint was a huge mistake. Not only did the Californian court rule in favour of the defendant, but the very process that Streisand had started attracted curious eyes. After her lawsuit, the site in question had been visited 400 000 times, whereas before she filed a complaint it had had only had six visits, two of them from her own lawyers. The Streisand effect is at the very core of Forbidden Stories: journalism to defend journalism. With this kind of solidarity, we can ensure that investigations survive.

 

Laurent Richard is a journalist at Premières Lignes Télévision, and the founder of the Forbidden Stories platform.

The more you donate,
the more investigations we will complete.

Forbidden Stories is a non-profit project which relies on charitable foundations and on financial support from the public.

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They support us

Can Dündar

Former editor of the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet

It will send a very clear message to oppressive governments that if they touch a journalist anywhere in the world, many others will be ready to support and follow up their story.”

Khadija Ismayilova

Azerbajani investigative journalist

“What you are suggesting is creating a newsroom for journalists who have no press freedom. You will get fantastic stories.

Marina Walker

Deputy director of the ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists)

“By working together, journalists can make it harder for censorship to win. We’re proud to support Freedom Voices.”

Bastian Obermayer

2017 Pulitzer Prize winner

“Even if Forbidden Stories rescues just a handful of investigations that fall into a sort of limbo each time a journalist is jailed or killed, it will already be a great victory for citizens.”

Fabrice Arfi

Mediapart‘s head of investigations

The finest project of investigative journalism, in solidarity against censorship.

Will Potter

Author, journalist and internationally-recognized civil liberties advocate

“Truly inspirational and innovative work.”

THEY TALK ABOUT US