PN Secretary General Clyde Puli has apologised profusely and unreservedly for the incident which occurred on Tuesday during the sitting of the party Executive Committee. In an exchange of emails with the Editor-in-Chief, the party was informed of the incident and in reply the Secretary General apologised for the uncouth and unauthorised behaviour.
“Safeguard press freedom at all costs” – Debono
PN Secretary General Clyde Puli apologised profusely and unreservedly to Newsbook.com.mt following an incident outside the party Headquarters on Tuesday. During the sitting of the party Executive Committee, an altercation broke out between a journalist and a party activist. The altercation was filmed by at least two persons on site, one of whom was a Newsbook journalist. As the Newsbook journalist was filming, the activist involved in the altercation approached the journalist Newsbook journalist trying to intimidate her from filming. The activist was also pulled away by other activists on site.
Editor-in-Chief Sylvana Debono wrote to Puli protesting the incident adding that “press freedom needs to be safeguarded at all costs.” Debono also asked for sufficient precautions to be taken to avoid recurrence so that the journalists can do their job as is their right in a free democracy.
“I humbly apologise” – Puli
In his courteous reply, Puli wrote that he “…humbly apologise for what happened…when an unauthorised person tried to obstruct the view of the journalist’s camera. I assure you that this was not done following party instructions and am taking steps to ensure that similar incidents will not recur.”
Debono wrote that Newsbook.com.mt accepted the apology while observing that constant personal vigilance is always important to ensure that freedom of speech, accountability and freedom of the press are not eroded.
IGM took 3 days to react
Rule of Law NGO Repubblika, had said in a statement that the intimidation that journalists faced was authorised by the party leadership and that, ‘this behaviour is nothing short of disgraceful.’
Puli, on the other hand, in his unconditional apology to Newsbook categorically denies that there was any authorisation by the party leadership.
The incident that happened on Tuesday was condemned by the Institute of Maltese Journalist on Friday although Chairman of the Institute of Maltese Journalist Yannick Pace witnessed the act of intimidation while it happened on Tuesday.