The Malta Independent 29 September 2021, Wednesday

Prime Minister is part of misinformation campaign through PBS – Bernard Grech

Jake Aquilina Sunday, 5 September 2021, 11:36 Last update: about 23 days ago

The misinformation campaign is not only happening through the use of fake websites, but through the state broadcaster as well, meaning that the Prime Minister is part of this issue, Opposition and PN leader Bernard Grech said on Sunday.

In recent weeks, a misinformation campaign was underway in Malta, where a number of media outlets had their websites replicated in order to share false stories.

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However, Bernard Grech said that the issue does not only lie with these fake websites, but rather it is also embedded within the tax-payer funded PBS, where the Government is dictating what it publishes and what it does not, Grech said.

“A Government which dictates what someone has to listen means that he is controlling the public broadcaster and is not allowing the truth to come out. Rather, he is twisting the truth,” he said.

“This is only the fault of Castille and the Prime Minister. So even the Prime Minister is part of this campaign of misinformation and fake news, because when the truth does not arrive, you are losing one of your rights,” Grech remarked.

Grech also mentioned that there are journalists and media houses which are consistently threatened, sometimes through court cases and SLAPP cases.

PN MP Jason Azzopardi was the latest person to fall victim to a SLAPP suit, this time from Satabank’s Bulgarian owner.

“It is either a Government that tries to buy you with advertisements to control what you say or a Government and their friends who try to shut your mouth with these cases,” Grech observed. “If we all stand up to be counted, nothing will break us, and we will win.” 

Survey

On another note, a survey by MaltaToday showed that the PN gained a slight number of votes from previous surveys, with the gap between PL and PN standing at around 33,000.  However, it showed that Grech’s trust ratings remained far below those of his opponent.

Grech said that he remains positive and encouraged by the survey, however, he asserted – as he did many times before – that “they are only a snapshot of a moment in time”.

Nonetheless, he maintained that he is pleased that “the PN’s message is being understood by people and that people are moving towards it.”

“We have to make a difference in this country, because the stairs we are climbing slowly mean that we can be a viable, alternative government,” he said. “The PN is getting stronger, moving forward, and is gaining trust. We are not there yet, but we need to continue to work to be there.” 

Environment proposals

A few days ago, the PN also published seven new environmental proposals, one of which focuses on a push for more pedestrian zones.

Commenting on these seven proposals, Grech said that he wants to see Malta change and cater for more “car-free open spaces”.

Grech said that the PN is trying to share with the public the environment plan it has. “What we are talking about is a better life in terms of both physical and mental wellbeing.”

The Opposition leader observed that when one goes abroad and tries to get some peace of mind “he doesn’t look for chaos, concrete and cranes”, but rather open spaces. He said that these spaces will prove to be much better for society. 

Pilatus Bank

Recently, more news came out when it comes to the notorious Pilatus Bank, where Pilatus Bank and the head of its Compliance and Legal department were charged with money laundering after a formal arraignment took place last Thursday.

Grech asserted that the people in authority who did not act when it came to Pilatus Bank, did not act because “they decided to look the other way.”

He said that a lot of people are frustrated because due to a few people who were not acting correctly the whole country has to suffer from extensive and additional checks when it comes to financial matters.

On a final note, Grech said that he wants to see things change in the country. “When I say be part of the change, before we change government, we need to change our attitude… We need to change in terms of how we respect each other,” he remarked.

“If I want a better attitude, education, and the way we act in public, we need to do it together, otherwise I will be a voice shouting in a desert,” the Opposition leader said. “This government has a tyre which has a puncture, but is continuing to drive on it. Someone who is serious stops and changes the tyre, and that is what we have to do so we take the country to a place where it deserves to be.”

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