The Media Pluralism Monitor report published by the EU-funded Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom will be largely dismissed as conditioned by the immediate aftermath of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s killing.

The data for the report was gathered this time last year when already the government had driven hard the notion that that assassination was an isolated event. It’s not just that they argued that there was no immediate danger for other journalists to meet the same fate. It’s that they seemed to argue and continue to seem to argue that the incident was freakishly isolated, had no apparent causes, and did not even need any thinking about.

In that context they will again say that a considerably lower score in the indicators on the basic protection for journalists is a blip caused by an isolated and unique event and thinks will normalise quickly.

But I am linking here the report in full because this really is a distraction from more pressing concerns raised by the report.

The Media Pluralism Monitor measures four main aspects of media freedom: Basic Protection of Journalists, Social Inclusiveness (which deals with how minorities can access the media), Political independence and market plurality in the media landscape (how viable media are and how transparent and evenly spread its ownership is).

Malta’s score has dropped significantly in the Basic Protection category. It used to be deemed a Low-Risk place for journalists and it’s now become a Medium Risk place. But that’s a very limited view of what really is going on.

Because the other three categories are deemed High Risk by the Media Monitor. They were High Risk when Daphne Caruana Galizia was still alive. And they haven’t got particularly worse because she was killed. And it looks like we accept these as given.

Not that the report tells us anything we don’t know.

Malta legislated from media plurality thirty years ago but then abandoned it to its fate. Too few own too much and regulation of their behaviour is weak which allows them to decide what goes in the media.

Political parties are media empires immune to regulation and any independence in the journalists they employ is virtually unimaginable. Indeed our political parties must be the least democratic owners of media in the entire democratic world. And anyone who seeks to compete with them is near bankrupt which makes them vulnerable to manipulation by the political parties themselves.

Bottom line is we do not meet basic standards of media plurality in this country.

This causes the exclusion of voices in our society that do not somehow fit in the agenda of political parties. Minorities and dissenters are utterly excluded and viewers are kept ill-equipped with the skills to discern news from partisan propaganda.

And this is the only democracy in the world where the absence of market plurality in the media is conflated with the complete lack of political independence. Parties and the government control most media outlets. Editors are not only not autonomous, but they are also agents of the partisan interests of their employers. The State limits its support to media to what benefits the interests of the party in government which in turn closes the circle to anyone outside the benefit of partisanship from adding anything to the discourse in any way.

On top of all that it’s become far less safe to be a journalist in Malta now.

That’s how things really stand. And most of the media the country is watching today is not telling them any of this.