Here’s a newsroom that doesn’t have to worry about Rachel Montebello’s decree. Watch this report from TVM’s coverage of the hearing of evidence against Keith Schembri. The report could have been written by Keith Schembri himself. It is a collection of questions asked in the cross examination of police without any context about the evidence the police have presented against him.
If you’re only watching TVM (and then you belong to a large portion of the population), you can only reasonably conclude that Keith Schembri is a political prisoner. This sounds like a trial of early Christians during the Diocletianic persecution. You could picture Keith Schembri stripped to the waist, his nipples in pincers about to be martyred like a virginal Agatha of Catania.
They say that justice needs to be seen to be done which is why Keith Schembri is tried in open court. But TVM (like its sister news channel, One) is reporting this as if injustice is being seen to be done.
If you’re watching TVM you can’t be blamed for thinking Keith Schembri is remanded in custody because the police think he saved Progress Press over €2 million and never took a cent from his public office that wasn’t due to him.
In that case you can’t be blamed for being angry and mistrustful of the justice system. You’re going to think it’s skewed against tfal Laburisti minn Bormla. You’re going to feel your hatred of dawk ta’ Defni u dawk tas-sifilsosajiti entirely vindicated. You’re going to fill out the picture they have sketched in your head of Simon Busuttil burning tfal tal-Lejber at the stake like a Dominican inquisitor. Maybe not Dominican. San Duminku Laburist. Some other inquisitor nazzjonalist then.
This is what causes division in the country. Our inability to at least agree on the facts on the back of which we can then exercise our right to differing opinions. TVM has a duty to supply the country with the facts on the basis of which we can agree civilly. If we don’t agree on the facts we can have no basis for a civilised debate.
Consider another report by TVM yesterday. They could not help picking up Times of Malta’s findings, together with Reuters, about the ownership of Macbridge. The report is headlined “Jirrapportaw li …”, diffusing the significance of what you’re about to hear from the pregnant qualification of the first word in that title. Don’t dismiss this as professional resentment because Times of Malta beat them to the story. That would presume they were looking for it.
But TVM’s newsroom, by far the best funded, the most resourced, with the highest head count of the best paid journalists in the country, never tried to get this story. Or any other story that risks exposing the Labour Party’s government of this country for the mafia organisation that it is.
Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers do not ever have to ask Rachel Montebello to get the police to question TVM journalists for their coverage. And that, in case of doubt, is not a good thing.