Here is the prime minister of Malta challenged by the press to express his views on the consultant to his Minister Konrad Mizzi calling protesters in front of Castille whores.
The fact that he had to be door-stepped by the press to express a view should, in a normal country, be a gross public relations disaster in itself. The prime minister’s office in proper form should have curtly and swiftly condemned in a statement the misogynistic attack expressed in the government’s defense by one of its senior officials and demanded Tony Zarb’s resignation.
But taking this self-evident response out of the prime minister is for journalists harder than pulling teeth.
And he cannot resist hitting back with his classic tu quoque retort the PN did not condemn “the blogger” (for which read little old me) and Simon Busuttil.
The reference to me is the post I uploaded about the assistant of his press secretary where I called him out for going to the protest outside Castille taking pictures of the protesters. I said that he would have wanted to be seen and compared that to terrorists wanting their identity to be known in order to intimidate others. For the thousands who will never read that post but will only hear the prime minister speaking about it today, the official story now is I called his underling a terrorist, a term that by his response today, has become rather more deserving of the prime minister.
A government official slandering protesters should, in the prime minister’s opinion, be treated in the same manner as a journalist’s criticism of a government official. This here is the root of the prime minister’s complete misunderstanding of the workings of a democracy. It is not the function of the power of government to hold the press to account. It is the function of the press to hold the power of government to account.
By his actions not two weeks after a blogger got blown to bits, the prime minister shows again that his commitment to the freedom of journalists to speak is reserved for the dead ones.
If the government official I criticised is aggrieved he could respond — he hasn’t but instead got his boss and his father, and then the prime minister of Malta to do so for him. But for the full power of the state, from the mouth of the prime minister himself, to be thrown on a “blogger” — that title of hate again — is just the environment that is not acceptable in a democracy.
Naturally the aim of the prime minister is to whip up the bashing, the threats, the anger and the accusations of his supporters directed at a journalist working in his kitchen.
This blogger will not stop.