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Government initiates libel proceedings against Sea Shepherd founder

The Maltese government initiates libel proceedings abroad against Sea Shepard founder Paul Watson over bribery allegations.

Jurgen Balzan
6 March 2012, 12:00am
Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said Malta's politicians were being bribed by the tuna industry.
During tonight's parliamentary sitting, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi revealed that the Maltese government has initiated legal proceedings over an interview published by New Europe.

Gonzi was replying to a parliamentary question forwarded by Nationalist backbencher Jesmond Mugliett in regards to an interview which was published on the magazine about Malta's tuna fishing industry.

In an interview published last month, Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson was quoted as saying "what is happening in Malta is that there is a whole illegal enterprise going on there with the full support of the politicians who are being bribed by these tuna fishermen."

Mugliett asked whether libel proceeding will be undertaken by the government and the Prime Minister replied in the affirmative. "Following legal advice, it has been decided to initiate libel proceedings abroad," Gonzi said.

In the interview, Sea Shepherd's founder Paul Watson delivered a scathing judgement of Malta's political class, claiming the Bluefin tuna industry has been lining MPs' pockets to sanction their allegedly illegal fishing trade.

Watson - who has led expeditions in the Mediterranean to scupper Maltese tuna ranches - referred to the Maltese tuna industry as a "whole illegal enterprise" that has the full support of the politicians "who are being bribed by these tuna fishermen".

Watson said overfishing of Bluefin tuna was making the industry richer by driving prices up as the species is driven closer to extinction, but that the EU, and Malta, were doing little to enforce conservation laws.

"The EU has all the rules and regulations that protect our oceans, however, what they do not have is enforcement. We have a lack of will on the part of governments to enforce international conservation law. They need to get out there and arrest the bastards.

"But, they are doing this because too much money is passing hands under the table going to many politicians in Europe, just like in Malta; there is no question that Maltese politicians are on the take."

Jurgen Balzan joined MaltaToday in 2011, specialising in politics, foreig...
Jamie McCroskey
What is libel? Libel is the type of defamation with a permanent record, like a newspaper, a letter, a website posting, an email, a picture, or a radio or TV broadcast.'' So how is this not Libel Canuck? surely paul signed a release for these quotes, he went too far.
Ramon Casha
@Solidarity: He is not a whistle-blower. A whistle-blower is someone with inside knowledge who reveals illegal activities going on behind closed doors. Watson is just shooting his mouth off and making accusations that he can't substantiate. Put it this way - if his accusations are true, then this will all come out in the court case against him and the said politicians will be publicly humiliated. Personally, from what I've seen of Watson's methods, I believe jail is the right place for him.
Michael Ellul
Instead of giving him whistle blower protection to verify his corruption claims we try to shut his mouth. WHY????
Michael Ellul
Instead of giving him whistle blower protection to verify his corruption claims we try to shut his mouth. WHY????
Claude Caruana
Let's shoot the messenger.
Anon
it would be interesting to know if the Attorney General's office will commence the proceedings, OR, if a local company will be commisioned to do so. If the latter, which company ?
Anon
it would be interesting to know if the Attorney General's office will commence the proceedings, OR, if a local company will be commisioned to do so. If the latter, which company ?
Anon
it would be interesting to know if the Attorney General's office will commence the proceedings, OR, if a local company will be commisioned to do so. If the latter, which company ?
Anon
it would be interesting to know if the Attorney General's office will commence the proceedings, OR, if a local company will be commisioned to do so. If the latter, which company ?
parla piu piano
Very good indeed. The Parties get the envelopes in their fund raising activities (both parties do near the Xmas period), politicians near the tuna business or even working indirectly or directly for them get even fatter envelopes. THEN God ZEUS commander in chief of all Malta decides to use TAX PAYERS money to institute an idoitic libel case like this as if to do something that is to be noted for the sake of what Paul Watson said - typically Maltese. Very good indeed again. Keep it up you are doing me a Maltese Citizen Very proud.
Joseph Aquilina
All who follow Sea Shepherd and Paul Watson, can all understand that all SS is interested in is sensationalism. Paul would lie as soon as he has a chance to do so, as long as he gets media attention, and with this, he invites his supporters to donate more money. If you enter his web-site, and read their articles, you will always see he is Mr. Right and he is the man that has the right to do everything under the cap that he is the PROTECTOR of the seas. He is only a cowboy and does what he does for the media attention.
Josh Stossel
Someone needs to tell the Maltese politicians to lookup the legal requirements for libel. Libel can only be brought forth for written word, Paul Watson only spoke these words and it was in fact the magazine who interviewed him which wrote it. Slander maybe, but certainly NOT libel.
K Seagate
Paul Watson is despised the world over for his dubious tactics aimed more at showbusiness rather than conservation. Take a look at what they say about here: http://malta-exposed.blogspot.com/2010/06/whale-whore.html
K Seagate
Paul Watson is despised the world over for his dubious tactics aimed more at showbusiness rather than conservation. Take a look at what they say about here: http://malta-exposed.blogspot.com/2010/06/whale-whore.html
not amused
What's next? Gonzi taking legal action against the huge percentage of Maltese, who believe that corruption is rampant in Malta? We know what kind of enforcement is going on in Malta while the unabated construction chaos and the constant raping of Malta's countryside are proof enough of how easy our politicians favours can be swayed and bought.
Nicholas Baldacchino
Sewwa Ghamlulu anzi ma nafx kif persuna li wegghet ghada ma fittxitux talli baqa diehel fuq tuna net u immanka bniedem ghal ghomru. Nahseb pajjizu post il qaddisin dan sheperd, jekk qed jallega tixhim jisostanzja. Is sajd tat tonn huwa lghixien ta pajjizna jista ma jiix lil ghawn persona non grata dan il kaptan.
Dion Borg
if only Maltese parliamentarians show even a shread of the altruistic commitment and personal sacrifices that Sea Shepherd's crew show and make, Malta would be such a better place! Shame of Gonzi and the PNPL motley crew...
Steve Sant
Government, he is not blaming the people, he is blaming the politicians. He is blaming the 'person' (politicians). Do you understand, so in other words, we are saying that 'should' I find out that Mr.X the Politician is accepting bribes, and I sue or make accusations (after all he is accusing the politicians) then the government will take me to court. Unbelievable, people's money being used to fund their (politicians) court cases, if any of you politicians want to initiate legal proceedings against the Sea Shepherd, then use you newly earned 500's to fund them, not people's money.