The Malta Independent 15 October 2021, Friday

TMID Editorial: A green list, a grey list and gullible voters

Wednesday, 13 October 2021, 09:14 Last update: about 2 days ago

A few days ago, it was announced that Malta was put back on the European Union’s travel green list after spending most of the summer on the red and orange list after a spike in Covid-19 cases.

This return to the green list happened after the number of daily Covid-19 cases was substantially brought down along with the number of active cases. The number of people requiring hospital treatment because of the virus has also been substantially reduced.

Being part of the green list means that Malta is considered to be safe for travelling purposes. It helps in the process of recovery. The tourism industry remains a column of the country’s economic activity. A place on the orange and red lists, let alone dark red, was not welcome news.

But here comes the funny part, or the sad part, depending on one’s level of cynicism.

Because, judging by the reaction on the social media, which has become an important tool to understand public sentiment, many understood this information as being related to a completely different issue. They thought that Malta’s return to the green list meant that it has been taken off the grey list by the Financial Action Task Force.

Yes, many mixed up the two.

To be fair, the pro-government media did not make it easy for them, because the news regarding the travel green list was presented in such a way as to sow confusion. This was probably why there were some who mixed up the two issues – you see, one comment read, they told us it would take years for Malta to get off the grey list, thanks to Labour we got off in a few months.

It’s possible that many are now under the impression that the reforms that the government boasts about regularly have pushed the FATF to act quickly to remove Malta off the grey list, which is not the case. It is also possible that there was an intention to mix up the two issues when, of course, they are two have no connection whatsoever.

One concerns the Covid-19 pandemic, and the other means that Malta is now under the scrutiny of the world’s money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog because it is considered to be an untrustworthy jurisdiction.

And, while it is good to see that Malta has done well and continues to do well in terms of controlling the spread of Covid-19, the same cannot be said on matters pertaining to good governance and the rule of law. We’re still far from doing enough to be taken off the grey list.

All this shows how gullible some voters are, and how easily they could be fed misinformation. If people could be confused on this, then it is no wonder that they could believe anything that some politicians throw at them.

It also shows, unfortunately, how sections of the media try to trick their followers. This kind of behaviour is the reason why the traditional media continues to lose credibility.

It is also a sign that our education system is not reaching its goals. Something as easy as this should not generate confusion.

 

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