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Panorama editor Joe Garcia dies at 84

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

Joe Garcia, the editor of Panorama and a prominent Gibraltarian journalist for over five decades, has died at the age of 84.

During his long career Mr Garcia, the father of Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, bore witness to defining moments in Gibraltar’s modern history and was a staunch defender of the right to self determination.

His news reports and incisive opinion articles were required reading for anyone following Gibraltar’s political development, both inside and outside Gibraltar, and in many ways helped shape it.

Mr Garcia, who had written too for leading international publications including The Financial Times and El Pais in Spain, cared deeply about his profession and championed free speech and the freedom of the press.

He founded Panorama in 1975, initially as a weekly publication but later as a daily with five editions a week, and was proud that it was the first Gibraltarian newspaper with an online presence.

On Sunday, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo expressed condolences to Mr Garcia’s family on behalf of the Cabinet and paid tribute to a man he described as a brilliant journalist.

Mr Garcia, the Chief Minister said, had played a big role in the making of Gibraltar as a modern nation.

"From securing the first interview with a Spanish foreign minister in the Spanish Foreign Ministry in Madrid, to attendance at rounds of Brussels and other talks, he was a pioneer who, for many years, was one of the few who could set the political agenda through his incisive journalism and his scoops from a wide range of sources,” Mr Picardo said.

"As a result of his reputation, his brand of Gibraltarian journalism was greatly sought after outside of Gibraltar also.”

“His articles on Gibraltar appeared in publications as diverse as El Pais and the Financial Times to name only two of the many that his by-line graced over the decades.”

"The remarkable accuracy of his polling methods also gained the Panorama poll a peerless and fearsome reputation amongst political parties, whose political fortunes could be as affected by the result of a Panorama poll as they could by the result of a General Election.”

“Aside from Panorama, Joe also established and run MedSun, one of the few Gibraltarian publishers.”

"He was a sounding board for Chief Ministers, starting with Sir Joshua and right through to me and his remarkable contribution to journalism and public life in Gibraltar was recognised by Her Majesty The Queen in the grant to him of the MBE, the first such recognition granted by Her Majesty to a Gibraltarian journalist.”

"In the early 90's he agreed to lead a political party, which came to be known as the Gibraltar National Party made up of rebellious young people.”

“That party included today's Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Tourism as well as the Leader of the Opposition and Opposition spokesperson for Tourism.”

“Although I was still a law student in 1991 and not a candidate, I will always remember my training with him on campaigning and how the media would interpret the party positions we were defending.”

"Joe withdrew from frontline politics at the end of that campaign that was announced on the very same day that we had launched the GNP.”

“When we met in later life we would always share a happy reference and laugh about those early political moments.”

"We are all truly saddened to say goodbye to Joe Garcia Snr today and are grateful for his body of work that will live on in the Gibraltar Archives in his work for Panorama, The Post and all the national and international contributions he has made to journalism, principally on the subject of his beloved Gibraltar and the rights of its people to determine their own political future for themselves.”

"Rest in Peace Joe, dear friend and great Gibraltarian."

The funeral will take place at 11am on Monday April 11 from St Theresa’s church.

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