Malta’s most popular published news papers mainly consist of the ‘Times of Malta’, ‘The Malta Independent’, ‘Malta Today’ and the Maltese language based ‘L’Orrizont’ and ‘In-Nazzjon Taghna’. Their are others that are both weekly and other that specialize in business or Religion. But the popular and most influential are the ones mentioned above.
Now of the two Maltese published newspapers ‘L’Orrizont’ and ’In-Nazzjon Taghna’ are not worth investing your money’s worth, unless you’re royal Red, then ‘L’Orrizont’ is the newspaper for you as it’s everything you want to hear, it’s 100% biased in favour to the MLP and blurs the truth in any genuine good that a PN Government might have done. The other non-starter is, ’In-Nazzjon Taghna’, this is for the Royal Blue’s in Malta, it’s mission is to place the PN and its Government on the highest status no matter what and hiding the truth of any PN wrong doing and shifting it’s sins and blames onto the MLP. Distraction and alienation of its readers from the true picture is an art they qualify in hands down.
The English language based Newspapers, are more reasonable in get some sort of truth. Although ‘Times of Malta’ and ’The Malta Independent’ make the extra effort in giving the reader some vision of what’s happening, they are both still stuck in the old cobweb mentality in allowing extremely biased columnists publish their articles in their respective newspapers falling short of hate to the opposing camp. Still one have some fair chance of getting a clearer picture of what is nearer to the truth if one reads between the lines and keep an open mind and predict the writer’s agenda.
‘Malta Today’ is more interesting in the fact that it displays the clearest of picture as to what is happening and easier for any unbiased reader to arrive at the truth.
All newspapers are undeniably following their own agenda in their support to what party. Investigative reporting is poor in the fact that they only chase sensationalism and never pursue a story to conclusion or exert pressure on Authorities for stories to come to a conclusion or for Authorities to hold those responsible to account for their inaction or action. A few stories unconcluded by Authorities and readers not updated are the recent stories about what’s happening with the residents of the Naxxar explosion incident, the pre election scam of Mistra, MEPA’s state of affairs and scams and other stories that seem to fade out of the picture due to inadequate and poor investigative journalism and the most important factor in journalism: time.
Editors and their opinion columns gives one a clearer and definite picture as to which party the newspaper subscribe to .There is an obvious agenda that most editors follow, they know that they can well and truly influence their reader’s political direction. This weakness in the press is obviously known and understood by the Political Parties in a way that they manipulate the press at their free will and the respective Political Party gain and tarnishing their opponents at the expense of truth.
So unlike newspapers in the Western world, where the press is the public defender in uncovering the truth, exerting pressure on Authorities and Political Parties, and follow up on stories to conclusion – in Malta works in reversed, to such a extent that the press is used as a means to hide the truth of the realities, the newspapers are pressured into falling in line with the respective political camp, and stories that are hardly ever followed up to conclusion.
All newspapers publish letters from readers ,when one analyses these letters, one finds most of the readers would love to see change for the better. Readers send letters to the Editors offering views in a multitude of subjects and how things can improve, what changes are needed etc. But Newspapers hardly restructure in a way that their opinion reflects the truth and unbiased commentary, hardly the hard line columnist are done away with in order to minimize the Political rift and Political Polarization (They shirk off the responsibility that they are major contributors for this state of affairs). They all publish articles from self proclaimed columnist, most of them ex politicians that either retired from the political scene or that did not make it in the election, while others are active politicians that publish either how good the government is doing or how bad depending on which side of the political divide he comes from, with the truth somewhere in between the two versions. Then there are the supposedly independent ones (these self proclaimed unbiased ones are the most dangerous ones as they are most of the time fundamentalists in their loyalty to their respective political beliefs).
It is a pity that Malta has a very good University, and students studying journalism are very enthusiastic while studying but then are blocked by the system and the status quo, by the state of affairs of our newspaper’s publishers. There are hardly any free lanced journalists that chase the truth, with their investigative story being sold and bought by publishers or that a journalist is funded to research a story and keep the heat on to uncover the truth. We have to do with directly hired journalists that most of them follow their’ editor’s agenda, in other words they don’t foul the fountain that one’s drinking his water from. This form is not professional journalism, it’s called job.
The truth of this status quo is that unless journalism in Malta is truly transformed, and radically changes its way of acquiring stories and news, then true democracy suffers as does freedom of the expressed free word. By keeping the status quo they don’t inspire the necessary changes that the public is daily demanding in the Authorities, Government and the Political Parties. Instead of being the public voice and defender of the public they are doing a public disservice with half truths and unconcluded stories. As far as columnist is concerned, all newspapers should do away with the present antiquated mentalities, especially the biased ones that do more harm than good to the newspaper and the political system reputation and instead the opportunity should be given to young inspiring journalists studying journalism from either the University or freelancers that don’t just write columns without investigating their stories no matter what, nothing stands in their way to uncover the truth.
One day Malta’s journalism will catch up with the 21st century, as the Public becomes more demanding, in want of more quality unbiased stories and news that doesn’t sleep till the truth is published and known with pressure exerted on the Authorities and across all the Political spectrum to do the changes demanded by the public.
Publishers are no different than Politicians in they are there to serve the Public, anything short of that is also short of democracy as known in the free world.
Journalism is more than job it’s a mission, do it with honesty, integrity and respect till the truth is reached and known to everyone.
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