Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
Yorgen Fenech’s defense team attempted to bribe Times of Malta journalist Ivan Martin.
Yorgen Fenech is accused of being involved in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination. Ivan Martin is one of the main journalists investigating and reporting on the case.
The Times outlines that Martin met Fenech’s defense team on Monday for around 20 minutes. The defense team is comprised of Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca. Caruana Curran handed over a number of folded €500 notes. Martin is unsure of how much money was offered, since he didn’t count it.
The Times report outlines that Martin rejected the money, telling the lawyers that he is only paid by the Times of Malta. Caruana Curran then told him that he meant no disrespect and that the money was offered because he had never met with a journalist before. Martin then told the editorial board of the Times about the incident.
Caruana Curran’s statement in the Times report said that he was led to believe that Martin was offering his services to neutralise the the bias in the reporting in the media.
“Unethical” – Times of Malta Editor
Times of Malta Editor Herman Grech stated that it’s unethical that a lawyer offers money to a journalist.
He added that it becomes all the more serious when the lawyers are working on one of the most delicate criminal cases in Malta.
It’s concerning that some feel free to bribe a journalist in the current climate – IGM
The President of the Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM) Sylvana Debono told Newsbook.com.mt that its concerning that “in the current climate, there were those who felt free enough to attempt to bribe a journalist.”
She outlined that this incident has happened a day after the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. She stated that attempted bribery is a crime, and that it is up to the journalist and the institution to take steps on the matter. IGM condemns this attempted act of bribery.
IGM went on to post on Facebook commending Martin for his handling of the situation. It also outlined that bribery and accepting a bribe is a criminal act as it breaches ethical principles. It urged the Times to follow the case up with relevant authorities, saying that “this debasement of the concept of duty and professionalism shows that the wine of values has really reached the dregs”.
The institute concluded its statement by saying that this is what journalists must face on the daily, from bribery, to threats, to bullying, to trolling, to SLAPP and so on.
“Imagine what Fenech might be offering public officials and witnesses”
Lawyer Jason Azzopardi, the parte civile lawyer for the Caruana Galizia family, stated that if Fenech attempted to bribe a journalist, then let alone what he’s tried to do with other people.
He said that he hopes the Commission for the Administration of Justice is severe.
Daphne’s son, Andrew Caruana Galizia, expressed the same sentiment asking to imagine what Fenech might be offering public officials and witnesses.
“Truth isn’t bought” – Therese Comodini Cachia
Therese Comodini Cachia stated that truth isn’t bought.
On Facebook, she said that quality journalism doesn’t succumb to lavishness. She said that “in the face of a culture which saw so many power wielding persons accept lavish gifts, it had to be a newsroom and a journalist to show the courage and high moral ground needed to stand up to this corruption.”
The Chamber of Advocates calls for investigation
The Chamber of Advocates stated that this is a case it considers to be extremely seriously.
It will be following up the case by asking the Committee for Lawyers and Prosecutors to investigate. This Committee forms part of the Commission for the Administration of Justice.
“A serious attempt at undermining an important pillar of democracy” – PL
The Labour Party (PL) described the matter as a serious attempt at undermining an important pillar of democracy.
It said that it is a matter of grave concern and that it welcomes the investigation by the Chamber of Advocates. It reiterated its commitment to defend the right of free speech and protect journalists in their duties.