The Malta Independent 10 December 2018, Monday

Konrad Mizzi employing hide-and-seek tactics to avoid questions - IGM

Tuesday, 13 November 2018, 20:36 Last update: about 27 days ago

The way in which Tourism Minister was failing to invite the media to his public appearances, only to publicise the events on social media, was unacceptable, the Institute of Maltese Journalists said on Tuesday.

Only TVM and the Labour party newsroom was informed about a visit that the Minister paid to the Malta Film Commission offices on Tuesday morning. Mizzi has often resorted to such tactics to avoid answering questions by the independent media.

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“The IGM contends that this is a deliberately discriminatory tactic to exclude sections of the Maltese press from putting questions to the minister that could force him to explain serious allegations of ministerial misconduct,” the institute said.

“The minister is duty-bound to give Maltese journalists reasonable access and to interact with the media by restoring the democratic tradition of publicising his appearances, instead of employing hide-and-seek tactics to spurn the free press. A free and unhindered press is essential to the proper functioning of any democratic society.”

The press has an obligation to inform the public about matters of national and public interest, IGM said.

“Denying the free press reasonable access to government ministers and events denies the public a critical interlocutor with the power to ask questions. By bypassing the free press and speaking only to the national broadcaster and party media, the government short-circuits a public bond of trust with the free press, readers and society. It is therefore unacceptable for government ministers to deliberately avoid the public’s questioning on matters of national importance.”

“Government ministers are democratically elected to their parliamentary seats and they are expected to account for their decisions and actions by also interacting with the press. As the fourth pillar, the media is indeed a pillar of Maltese democracy and needs to function in a space where it can truly interact with democratic institutions, its MPs and the executive,” the institute said. 

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