There was a bit of a happy ending when a Labour Party supporter posted on his Facebook post a photo with Times of Malta’s Mark Laurence Zammit to whom he had apologised after treating him aggressively on the side-lines of a Labour Party campaign event.

At Labour’s event, when the guy saw Mark Laurence Zammit with a microphone sporting “Times” in big letters, all he saw was “intom in-Nazzjonalisti”, someone he appears to be programmed to hate. The supporter’s message was that the PN were about to experience an unprecedented trashing. His confidence is not unjustified. So, his anger at the time should be a mystery. He should have been laughing, as, to be fair, were quite a few other Labour supporters interviewed by Zammit. If you’re sure to win, what there’s to be so angry about?

The take home note from the experience.

Mark Laurence Zammit is a charm fest. You can’t be angry at him for too long even if you’re a One TV follower programmed to assume that anyone who doesn’t work for One TV is not a journalist but an enemy. And yet, though he wasn’t asking particularly tough questions or putting his interlocutors in an uncomfortable position, some thought it was perfectly acceptable to be aggressive, even physical. Most did not hit him. But the taunting, the nastiness, the visceral hatred was palpable on several occasions. It looked like someone collecting souvenirs in No Man’s Land.

Political leaders have a responsibility to stop this, starting with their events. To do that they must stop discrediting journalists on their media, reducing them to objects of hate. Labour is particularly guilty of this.

It should not be dangerous for an independent journalist to go, microphone in hand, to a political event. Mark Laurence Zammit got a microphone slapped out of his hand. A couple of inches closer and that little wisp of a man would have been made to fly further than his equipment.

Perhaps it’s wise for me not to try what he did yesterday. Even I accept that. But we’ve reached a tragic low if Mark Laurence Zammit must think again before he goes do his job. He’s not covering the bombing of Kharkiv for crying out loud. It should be less chilling to work in Paola while Robert Abela does his thing.