Media objects en masse to Alfred
Sants hostility to press
The Malta Financial and Business Times has joined no less
than 75 journalists, editors, columnists and media commentators from
across Malta in condemning Opposition Leader Alfred Sants increasing
hostility toward the media.
A statement, signed en masse by members of media organisations not aligned
with the Labour Party was presented to Labour Party Secretary General
Jimmy Magro yesterday.
The statement reads, "We are concerned at the increasingly hostile
attitude being demonstrated by Labour leader Alfred Sant towards journalists
and commentators who work for media not owned by the Labour Party or
the General Workers Union.
"We feel that this hostility indicates an insufficient understanding
on his part of the role of the free press, and the reality of freedom
of speech, in a democratic country. We remind Dr Sant that he is in
control of a powerful political party with the backing of half the electorate,
and that he has a considerable media stable of his own, including a
television station, radio and newspaper.
"We remind him, too, that journalists and commentators have a duty
to ask questions and to challenge the opinions and policies of political
leaders. This should not expose them to personal attacks, retribution,
or boycotts. We express our solidarity with, and support for, those
journalists and commentators who have been subjected to such disparaging
The signatories include the editors of The Times, The Sunday Times,
The Malta Independent, The Malta Independent on Sunday, The Malta Business
Weekly, The Malta Business & Financial Times, MaltaToday, Il-Gens,
Il-Mument, and In-Nazzjon. They also include the Head of News of RTK
radio and the Head of Programmes of NET television. Other signatories
are media expert and commentator Fr Joe Borg, The Times consulting editor
Victor Aquilina, The Malta Independent political editor Fr Noel Grima,
Lou Bondi and Peppi Azzopardi of Wheres Everybody, and columnists
Andrew Borg Cardona, Ranier Fsadni, Daphne Caruana Galizia, Simone Zammit
Endrich and Marisa Micallef Leyson. They also include popular cartoonist
Maurice Tanti Burlo and Ivan Bartolo, the editor of the Xarabank newspaper,
who was censured by the Labour Party for his editorial role.
A copy of the statement has been sent to the Malta Press Club, which
has so far failed to take a stand on the matter. The signatories also
expressed their belief that Dr Sants granting of a one-hour interview
to Lou Bondi on Super One television should not distract the public
from his on-going refusal to take questions from the media in the manner
that would normally be expected of the leader of a political party.