Caruana Galizia was killed in a blast on Monday, four months after Joseph Muscat’s Labour Party won a snap election.
An election the Malta prime minister had called after the blog linked him and his wife, Michelle, to a secret offshore bank account hiding payments from Azerbaijan’s ruling family.
Recalling the harrowing moments after the explosion the reporter’s son Matthew Galizia, a journalist himself, wrote on Facebook: “A culture of impunity has been allowed to flourish by the government in Malta.
“My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it, like many strong journalists.
“But she was also targeted because she was the only person doing so.
“This is what happens when the institutions of the state are incapacitated: the last person left standing is often a journalist. Which makes her the first person left dead.”
Muscat has accepted while Galizia was harsh critic of him personally and his government he has condemned the killing unreservedly. Malta has asked for international help – including the FBI in the US – to find the perpetrator.
Galizia’s popular blog Running Commentary had also targeted opposition politicians with a mixture of investigative journalism and analysis.
“Her uncompromising blog and scathing pen spared no punches, hitting out mainly at exponents of the ruling Labour Party and their supporters, but also sometimes criticising officials of the centre-right Nationalist Party, including its newly-elected leader,” Herman Grech, editor of the Malta Times told the BBC.
“But beyond all, even her fiercest critics acknowledge she was an impeccable writer and investigative journalist. Her digital cross-investigation into the Panama Papers, which saw the Maltese government’s top officials embroiled, effectively triggered off a premature general election last June.”
This morning the newspaper reported that the magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera had stepped down from the investigation under pressure from the Galizia family. The magistrate had sued Galizia in the past after the reporter criticised Herrera in her blog.