May 9, 2024

09.05.2024 – SEEMO Condemns Malta Prime Minister’s Attack on Journalists

Prime Minister of Malta, Robert Abela’s recent remarks during a press conference on 6 May 2024, have sparked criticism, particularly directed at his accusations against journalists.

According to Newsbook Malta ( Abela allegedly accused Newsbook Malta of being part of what he termed the “shady establishment,” insinuating that they were working against the interests of the state and the people.

These accusations came amid the backdrop of escalating tensions following criminal charges filed against his predecessor, former Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat and other senior government figures.

Abela convened a press conference following the announcement of criminal charges against former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and other government figures for their alleged involvement in an allegedly fraudulent hospitals privatisation deal during Muscat’s tenure.

During the press conference, Abela several times used the term establishment. According to Newsbook Malta, Abela declined to respond to a question by Newsbook Malta regarding his apparent disregard for advice offered by his father, former President George Abela.

Such statements have drawn condemnation from media watchdogs, including the Institute of Maltese Journalists (Istitut tal-Ġurnalisti Maltin – IGM –, which described them as unacceptable in a democratic society.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns Prime Minister Robert Abela’s recent attack on journalists. Abela’s accusations against journalists, labeling them as part of the “establishment” and implying that they are enemies of the state, are unacceptable and undermine press freedom in Malta. Using such words is especially surprised, as it is usually used by politicians in less democratic countries. SEEMO asserts that journalists play a crucial role in democratic societies by holding authorities accountable and providing the public with unbiased information. The Prime Minister’s attempts to discredit and intimidate journalists not only violate their rights but also threaten the principles of free speech and independent media. SEEMO calls on Prime Minister Abela to retract his statements and refrain from further attacks on journalists, emphasizing the importance of respecting press freedom and ensuring a safe environment for media professionals to carry out their work without fear of reprisal.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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