Malta risking losing its fourth estate – Comodini Cachia

Miguela Xuereb

Shadow minister Therese Comodini Cachia warned today that Malta risks to lose its fourth estate after its revenue-streams were severly hit by Covid-19 and new technologies.

Speaking in parliament, Commodini Cachia said that Investigative Journalism is crucial to democracy but cost money and the country is risking to lose it because of financial difficulties. She proposed the setting up of an inter-newsroom fact-checking team.

She said whilst the current funds to traditional media outlets should be retained, these should be topped up based on the number of staff. She said that the government should make available funds available for specified projects like podcasts and the web-based platforms for traditional media.

She said the government lacked a vision for the cultural sector and there were no correlation between funding and cultural initiatives.

She explained that the government has granted more funds to the Valletta Cultural Agency compared to the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and this discrepancy cannot be explained.

On his part, the Opposition’s spokesman for local councils Karl Gouder said that although the local councils’ budget has increased on average by €14,000, new responsibilities were added to their portfolio including the appointment of a Data Protection Officer and Contracts Manager.

He added that although the government had promised to rebuild all of Malta’s roads within seven years, three years down, only a limited number of roads within localities had been done as follows:

LocalityNo. StreetsStreets done

He added that in Imġarr, only three roads were redone, five in San Ġiljan, Msida and Marsascala, two in Iklin and one in Kirop.

He said that during the pandemic, the local councils lost eight weeks after the government dragged its feet to authorise councils to hold meetings online.

Glenn Bedingfield discussed works being carried out in Cottonera and Zabbar, putting a focus on restoration works on the Cottonera and Sta Margherita Lines. He said that in the pipeline there were planned works for the Notre Dame gate and on an underground chapel in Cospicua.