The government has been awarding itself medals for faint praise it has received for the new press law it is piloting through parliament.
International rights organisations have expressed relief that the draconian proposals the government first put forward have been partially withdrawn after the opprobrium they raised.
The sense of relief that the fascist disaster the government proposed is not going to materialise after all is the classic ploy to allow the government to cover up the serious threats to media freedom that exist in the country irrespective of what our laws say.
As usual of course the government is over-keen in its praise of itself.
Owen Bonnici in Parliament said he got an A+ from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. This is why she called him Noddy. “Had this been an exam, we would have been awarded an A+ Mr. Speaker,” said Bonnici. Minister Bonnici forgets his university days. If this was an exam he failed it the first time he sat for it with the earlier version of the government project that the OSCE went medieval over.
Now the government sat for a re-sit. You don’t get an A+ in a resit. If you pass you get a pass. You should have got it right the first time.
And here’s Kurt Farrugia being excessively pleased with himself as well.
New #mediabill in #Malta is among the most liberal in the #EU. Another progressive reform by @JosephMuscat_JM and @OwenBonnici. Thank you for your input and praise to new bill @harlemdesir @OSCE rep on freedom of media.
— Kurt Farrugia (@KurtFarrugia) November 28, 2017
Among the most liberal in the EU? Says who? Perhaps Kurt Farrugia could tell us who he is quoting. He is certainly not quoting Harlem Desir from the OSCE whose words are very carefully chosen. An OSCE statement says the OSCE’s representative on freedom of the media “urged the Maltese authorities to improve the Bill and bring it in line with relevant international standards”.
That hardly makes it “among the most liberal in the EU”. On the contrary it ranks it beneath international standards.
But the real suppression of press freedom in Malta is not just in the quality of the law but in the quality of the government. That its chief spokesman feels enabled to turn somebody else’s criticism into praise without fear that the media is going to call him out for being a liar (which is different from being a spinner), shows in just what contempt the government holds the press here.
They barely passed the resit of the passing of the law on the media. But every day they fail the exam of true freedom expected in a democratic country, even the least liberal in the EU.