The assassination of journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia on the 16 October raises the question: why is freedom of expression so important? 

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is every individual’s right to express their opinion without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media. 

Freedom of expression enables the communication of ideas and is essential for human progress and development. Freedom of expression is crucial in a democratic society as a way to resolve problems without resorting to violence and by respecting the right of each individual to be an individual. 

Debate benefits society and encourages critical thinking.  It is vital that we all defend the right of freedom of speech, defend those who are denied this right and defend others who have the right not to share our opinions. 

Freedom of expression is important in society because it is integral to the rule of law; it is a vital tool to fight corruption,  incompetence and bad management by government and other powerful groups in society. 

The freedom to criticise bad, inadequate or inferior ideas or methods is instrumental in ensuring a society that is dynamic enough to change to adapt to the different challenges it may face in the future. Societies that do not adapt to change when necessary end up failing.  

The general public is happier and more committed to a society in which it is free to voice its thoughts. This is of benefit to all. 

The brutal killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia sent a message to journalists: to not be afraid and not be silenced, to not give up following this assault on the freedom of expression – a freedom that Daphne Caruana Galizia held so close to her heart and which, most likely, ended up costing her life.