The Malta Independent 26 September 2020, Saturday

DOI rejects journalist's testimony: 'Editor or head of news determines who a journalist is, not DOI'

Thursday, 13 February 2020, 13:17 Last update: about 9 months ago

It is the Editor or Head of News of a media organisation who determine whether a person applying for an Access Card is a journalist, and not the Department of Information, the same department said in a statement. 

Reacting to the testimony of The Shift journalist and co-founder Caroline Muscat, the DOI said that there are certain facts which should be highlighted in order to rectify some points in her submission

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Muscat had testified that the DOI had refused to issue her with a press card meaning that she could not attend government events or press conferences, and had noted that it was the DOI who decides who is a journalist and who is not. She also said that they had refused to send her the official calendar of government press events. 

“The Department of Information does not issue Press Cards. It only issues Access Cards which are used for government events only. DOI access cards are issued upon the endorsement of the editor/head of news of the particular media organisation”, the statement read. 

“It is the editor/head of news of the media organisation concerned (and not the Department) who determines whether the applicant is a journalist. The Department always leaves the authenticity of the endorsement to the editor/head of news”, they said. 

“The Department has never denied an Access Card for government events to any media organisation, registered or not”, they said. 

“The Department of Information never insisted with online portals to register. Indeed, the many news portals which voluntarily opted to register were informed a priori by the Department that registration is voluntary according to the Media and Defamation Act”, the statement continues. 

They said that the official calendar of press events, issued on a daily basis, is an open source data. It can also be accessed online by one and all on the gov.mt portal, and is updated accordingly, they said.

 

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