IĠM calls for national commitment to free and independent media

Interview

The 2020 Media Pluralism Monitor which confirms mounting harassment against journalists and increasing economic uncertainty by media outlets, the Institute of Maltese Journalists, IĠM noted as it issued a statement to emphasize on the deteriorating situation regarding the standards and protection of the journalistic profession.

In this regard, the IĠM reiterated its request to the government to meet and discuss ways in which anti-SLAPP legislation can be enacted.

It further calls on government to withhold enforcement to any changes to the Broadcasting Act which will have a serious impact on media revenue and hence media independence.

The Media Pluralism Monitor reported an overall medium to high risk for media pluralism in Malta in 2019. It said that Malta is in need of an overhaul in the public service media regulation if it is to suitably restore and safeguard the role of a recognised and respected public service.

Online hate speech, generally racist or misogynistic, or both, is on the rise, and the lack of media participation of the concerned groups is only exacerbating the situation said the report.

The Study also confirms the trends observed in the media sector in the past years: journalists are more and more victims of harassment; the sustainability of the news industry is at risk across Europe, while the gatekeeping role of digital platforms is on the rise.

The IĠM also noted that with regards to Malta, “it is common knowledge that particular entities do apply pressure on newsrooms threatening to cancel advertising revenue”. In this context “journalists need to put in place measures that would safeguard their professional independence, to protect their working conditions as well as strengthen their position in a world in which the independent media is increasingly coming under attack”, said the IĠM.