, who exposed alleged corruption in her home country through the leaked Panama Papers, is a savage blow to press freedom and investigative journalism.

Caruana Galizia had reportedly just driven away from ther home on the island nation when a bomb exploded in her car. She ran the popular blog Running Commentary in which she highlighted cases of alleged corruption, targeting politicians and the criminal underworld.

She had been a stern critic of the country's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, but he yesterday denounced the "barbaric attack". Other political figures have already claimed the killing was politically motivated, and linked to Caruana Galizia's reporting.

Many of Caruana Galizia's articles and posts delved into the Panama Papers - a cache of 11.5 million leaked documents from offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca which exposed the identities of rich and powerful people around the world who allegedly had holdings in Panama. The data, obtained by a German newspaper, was shared around the world last year - and the implications were quickly felt here.

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Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed on Monday when a bomb destroyed her car. Photo / AP
Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed on Monday when a bomb destroyed her car. Photo / AP

Analysis of the leaked documents named New Zealand alongside Malta as one of the countries whose foreign trust laws allowed overseas investors to keep profits tax free and invisible. New Zealand was allegedly being used as a tax haven.

Caruana Galizia also made the connection, in a blog post entitled: "Who gives a damn about New Zealand? The company is in Panama."

The New Zealand Government initially defended our foreign trust regime, but the Panama allegations eventually led to a shake-up of the industry.

A report commissioned by the Government to review trust disclosure laws found that while New Zealand was not a "tax haven", disclosure rules for foreign trusts were light-handed and not fit for purpose.

The wreckage of the car of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia lies next to a road in the town of Mosta, Malta. Photo / AP
The wreckage of the car of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia lies next to a road in the town of Mosta, Malta. Photo / AP

As a result, the Government this year introduced rules requiring people setting up or administering foreign trusts in New Zealand to reveal financial information and the identify of any beneficiaries. This led to an exodus of foreign trusts willing to register here.

The Panama Papers scandal illustrates the value of a free press and the dogged work of investigative journalists, cooperating to expose the mechanisms used by some to conceal wealth and profit.

Now Caruana Galizia's voice, a leader in this field, has been snuffed out. It comes at a time when journalists and the media are under attack. US President Donald Trump and other politicians seek to discount and demean those whose views counter their own, any story which challenges the agenda dubbed "fake news".

It should be Caruana Galizia's legacy that those who seek to expose the truth win out over those who try to hide it.