The American Press Institute says that the purpose of journalism is to provide citizens (readers) with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and – the most relevant to Malta, in the context of this article – their governments.

Lately journalists seem to feel under attack; they have apparently taken umbrage that many people are openly unhappy with the easy ride that Chris Cardona was given by Ivan Martin. That we should appreciate how difficult it was to get him to sit down for a chat with your friendly neighbourhood journalist.

Are you really so bloody naïve? Do you at any point think that you guys ‘managed’ to get an interview with Cardona? He’s the one who got the time and space to air his pathetic excuses. He shaved, put on a girdle, fixed a piteous expression on his face and remembered not to swear in public. And you fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

Or did you?

Last week the ex-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat – yes, him, who had to resign after activists’ unrelenting pressure – regaled us with his pearls of wisdom about post Covid19 economics. Which ‘independent’ newsroom actually put the words ‘resigned’, ‘disgrace’ ‘corruption’ and ‘murder’ in their headlines – and why the hell are you giving him the time of day anyway? It’s like portraying Hitler’s amateur views on horticulture, while he uses human ashes to fertilise flower beds.

It seems that according to some professionals, activists are being armchair critics (isn’t that an oxymoron?), saying ‘They (that’s me and perhaps you) don’t say what questions should be asked. They don’t say what headlines they would have used. They don’t congratulate him (Ivan Martin) for getting Cardona to sit down and answer questions.’

I don’t know about you, but when I go to a restaurant, I don’t tell the chef how to cook my pasta. I don’t expect to have to tell journalists what questions they should be asking (can you imagine doing that to John Sweeney or Tim Sebastian? They’d tell you where to get off faster than you can say ‘go to press’).

When you’re talking to the chap  who is allegedly linked to the payment of hundreds of thousands  of Euro to a murderer, who tried to ruin your slain colleague financially and then backed off faster than a rooster taken to KFC, you ask him ‘Why wouldn’t you allow your phone records to be shown in court after taking Daphne Caruana Galizia to court? If, as you say, your political life is over, why are you still deputy leader of the party? Why are you being framed?’

We (again me and perhaps you) are told that by being critical we are helping in the creation of a sense of impunity. Are you kidding me? A sense of impunity isn’t caused by people asking questions.

It’s caused by the people who don’t.

It is precisely because Daphne was killed that many of today’s journalists are being criticised. She stood steadfast in her belief that right is right and wrong is wrong, no matter how powerful the people behind the actions. She was uncompromising in her quest for truth. Can you say the same?

I don’t see you sticking up for Manuel Delia or Caroline Muscat when they’re hit with lawsuits. THAT is what creates impunity. By leaving your colleagues to fight alone. Politicians are agitating for anti-SLAPP measures which protect your right to carry out your jobs without fear of financial retribution more than you are.

It’s not a confirmation of our ‘bias’ that we want, as someone succulently put it. We want hard facts. We want fair. We want you to do your job without us having to read between the lines. We don’t want to read articles by DB people telling us that they’ve seen the light and scaled back their bloody project on stolen land. We don’t want to read articles by Ian Borg telling us about the infrastructural wonders he has bestowed on us, his subjects, while he frantically tries to get his paddling pool on ODZ land approved. There’s One media for that.

If you’re too scared to ask questions, I’ll do it. I’m not letting them get away with it.

I’ll ask those damned questions, face to face.

Malta deserves this. Daphne deserves this. You owe it to her. You owe it to us.