The Malta Independent 22 February 2024, Thursday
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Stagno Navarra apologises to journalist, denies wanting to incite hatred and violence

Thursday, 28 October 2021, 19:17 Last update: about 3 years ago

Labour Party media presenter Karl Stagno Navarra has apologised to journalist Tim Diacono and to Lovin Malta for singling him out for representing the ‘anti-Labour establishment media’ in his programme on Wednesday.

Stagno Navarra admitted that he “should have been more cautious” in his wording but did not accept suggestions that he was inciting hatred or violence with his programme Pjazza.

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The presenter got himself into hot water on Wednesday after using his programme on Wednesday to suggest that Repubblika – which is currently staging a three-day protest outside the police headquarters, the PN, the Church, and the media form part of an anti-Labour establishment trying to overthrow the government.

To support his point, he used footage showing PN candidates, Lovin Malta journalist Tim Diacono and priest David Cilia at the said protest.

His implications drew widespread criticism, including from the Prime Minister himself, who said that such suggestions were unacceptable.

Stagno Navarra directly apologised to Diacono and Lovin Malta for his comments and reiterated that he did not intend to attack them.

However, he stood by his comments and observations, saying that he had done his duty as a journalist.

"I did my duty as a journalist and made my observations," he said. "I can't accept people branding me as inciting hate or violence for the comments I made. That was never my intention."

"There is the right to protest, but not to exaggerate things by saying I'm inciting hate or violence. That is not my agenda nor that of the Labour Party."

IGM reaction to incident

The Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM) condemned the statement made by Karl Stagno Navarra on the programme Pjazza, that aired on One TV, regarding a Lovin Malta journalist.

During the programme, the show’s presenter aired footage of a protest organised by Repubblika taking place outside the police headquarters in Floriana and identified a journalist by name, insinuating that the journalist was part of the protest or one of the people behind it.

The footage showed a couple of PN MPs on site, the protestors, and then the journalist in question and a priest. While the programme’s presenter mentions the journalist by name, he then goes on to say that he is not attacking the journalist for being there.

The IGM said that it believes that if the presenter did not intend to target the journalist, then there was no need to highlight and name a journalist who was on site doing his work.

This misrepresentation of a journalist doing his job is wrong, condemnable and is an attempt to try and tarnish the journalist’s reputation.

After all that this country has gone through as a result of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, trying to paint a negative picture of individual journalists is dangerous.

While the programme’s presenter has a right to his own opinions and to free speech, the IGM believes that his actions with regard to the journalist in question were wrong.

The IGM also notes Stagno Navarra’s subsequent apology to the journalist in question but insists that this behaviour should not be repeated.

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