The Malta Independent 22 September 2019, Sunday

TMID Editorial: Greasing palms Sunday

Monday, 15 April 2019, 10:19 Last update: about 6 months ago

Liturgically speaking, it was Palm Sunday yesterday.

But in Malta's convoluted media, it was more like Greasing palms Sunday.

The day began with a vicious spat between two of Malta's three English language newspapers after a report on The Sunday Times that resurrected an email exchange between Saviour Balzan, MaltaToday's owner and Tumas Group CEO and 17 Black owner Yorgen Fenech about a 'controlled interview' on the Delimara power station.

MaltaToday at first pooh-poohed the question by claiming this was a commercial interview and was not even carried on the website but after the publication of the news plus an editorial on The Sunday Times, the MaltaToday editor ran a robust (and that is a weak description) reply in which he not only defended his paper but also carried the attack on to the advertising policy of Allied Newspapers, along with reminders that Allied prints MaltaToday.

One would not call the exchange 'vicious' but it was not far off the mark.

The background is a series of Chinese walls - XTRA, the weekly interview by Mr Balzan on TVM 'is not a Media Today production'. He refused to say if his TVM programme had received advertising from the Tumas Group.

According to the late Daphne Caruana Galizia who had originally unearthed the exchange, the interview aimed to do a 'cosmetic image building exercise' - questions were sent in advance  and later some parts were excised such as about the cost of the gas supplied by the Electrogas consortium to Enemalta.

And of course, it would be would it not?, the interview was carried out by a 'non-core staff member' who was employed for just over a month.

To make the day a more confusing one, Prime Minister Muscat chose to juxtapose those who argued against abortion with what these people felt about migrants.

The Labour leader was mixing chalk and cheese. How could he mix up people against abortion and people against migrants when it is amply clear that one group does not include the other?

The simple truth is that people are getting worked up as the EP and local council elections approach and that many times logical reasoning and truth get forgotten by the wayside.

Yet all the issues being discussed are very important issues that should be analysed and discussed by the country as a whole but not in these febrile conditions. People get mixed up and partisan spinning gets people more confused than ever. In these circumstances, the media has a very essential role to lay the facts and to examine the issues as dispassionately as possible.

 


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