Journalists should require a warrant, MP argues

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Journalists should require a warrant to practice their profession, according to Labour MP Jean-Claude Micallef.

Micallef was speaking during debate on a bill amending the Broadcasting Act, primarily to transpose an EU Directive, when he made his argument.

He insisted that the profession should be regulated by a warrant much like other professions – such as lawyers – were. This, the MP argued, would help raise standards in journalism.

Comodini Cachia makes fresh appeal for anti-SLAPP legislation

Though the bill is not directly concerned with journalism, the profession was also brought up by Nationalist MP Therese Comodini Cachia, the party’s spokesperson for culture and the media.

She expressed her concern about the government’s refusal to implement legislation against so-called SLAPP suits. SLAPP stands for strategic lawsuit against public participation, and describes legal actions filed to force critics to mount costly legal defences in a bid to intimidate them into submission.

The MP observed that the PN had made its own proposals to tackle SLAPP suits, and that the Institute for Maltese Journalists has recently appealed for a solution to the problem.

But the government was failing to step in to protect local newsrooms, with its members even giving foreign companies the go-ahead to pursue Maltese journalists in legal action overseas. This, Comodini Cachia added, led newsrooms to “remain silent, live in fear or risk losing funds.