Consequences of garnishee orders

I believe that everything in life has its limitations, but once an individual decides to abuse these limitations or doesn’t know where or what its limits are, then the responsible institutions should intervene and stop that individual

24 February 2017, 7:54am
A number of steps that the AG and IoJ have to take, when a journalist abuses his/her profession (under the umbrella of “freedom of expression”) cannot go amiss
A number of steps that the AG and IoJ have to take, when a journalist abuses his/her profession (under the umbrella of “freedom of expression”) cannot go amiss
The present goings on about whether to abolish garnishee orders or not is on all forms of media. Another issue, at hand, is about critical libel. Presently, what I’ve read and heard about garnishee order/s is all in favour of the journalist and the affected party is being left in the lurch. Nobody has suggested what ought to be done when a journalist abuses his/her profession. What follows is about garnishee orders.

I, for one, believe in freedom of expression but I also believe that the Attorney General (AG) and the Institute of Journalists (IoJ) must have a very balanced say in all of this. A number of steps that the AG and IoJ have to take, when a journalist abuses his/her profession (under the umbrella of “freedom of expression”) cannot go amiss. No one has raided this point until now.

These bodies (AG and IoJ) are also to take into consideration the harm that an individual journalist causes to the person in question plus the number of years it takes a court to decide on the case if the journalist is in the wrong. I, for one, also believe that €11,000 is not enough compensation when a journalist smears my character for a number of years until my case is heard in court, when the journalist is found guilty. 

Another valid point is that when a journalist loses a libel case, then s/he ought to pay the damages within a stipulated time frame as ordered by court. And, if the individual journalist decides not to pay within the said time frame, then the editor of the newspaper which s/he normally writes on, will decide that the said person won’t be permitted to write until s/he would have settled such a bill. If the person is a blogger and ignores the court’s outcome against him/her, then that blogger will have to pay an exorbitant fee for each time s/he abuses of his/her blog posting. If s/he continues to abuse the court’s outcome, then the police can intervene and carry on with their duties. These and other such related matters ought to be included when the abolition of garnishee orders takes place.

One last comment – I believe that everything in life has its limitations (and not just with journalism), but once an individual decides to abuse these limitations or doesn’t know where or what its limits are, then the responsible institutions should intervene and stop that individual, either legally, via official communication or otherwise until the problem is rectified.

Leonard Schembri, Gzira

It’s a sin

During an interesting discussion programme on television, Dr Robert Abela raised a few points in the Caruana Galizia-Cardona debacle which I found interesting. Abela mentioned previous cases when Caruana Galizia lost libel cases and had to be sued again in court in order to pay up.

A second observation was how the Opposition inflated the case to the proportion of a public protest and has acted as judge and jury in a court dispute that has not even started. What I also wished to update myself on is if Caruana Galizia has released the government land she allegedly had annexed to her own property.

I also followed an article in the local press penned by Dr Kevin Aquilina who reasoned that a person who is prohibited by Maltese law to do something in Malta will also be in breach of the law if he does the same thing in a country where the same act is not illegal.

In the story at issue, what we are talking about is a visit to a brothel abroad. Well opinions vary. In my case, what struck me most was recalling the 1960s years when I was a teenager. Local young friends of mine used to make the occasional visit to London to watch a game of football as Tottenham Hotspurs supporters, only to make their ritual visit to Soho to watch a striptease show!

They were times when even if one voted Labour would have committed a sin! Brothels, whether legal or illegal, have existed since time immemorial. Many have read stories of brothel adventures from the Canterbury Tales or the Decameronne? By Kevin’s measure, it is a sin in our times to visit a brothel, is it not? I admire how the Opposition has succeeded to create a mountain out of a molehill, to boot a fake one apparently, making it so obvious to all of us that the Opposition and Caruana Galizia are one and the same thing. I also wonder how some of our supposed intellectuals back such anti-democratic tactics from the Opposition, which has not yet come to terms with itself after the last electoral trashing.

George Camilleri, Sliema

A spurious philosopher

In trying to pontificate in his muddled thinking, with the letter “Jesus and Paul” (February 5) John Guillaumier turned out to be a spurious philosopher. I think that he is wasting his time. It is a pity that his letters penetrate the correspondence columns with such alacrity, because no good is coming out of his numerous missives.

Not for me. St Paul’s letters and life can be regarded as the 5th gospel. After Christ’s appearance on the way to Damascus, Paul was a completely changed man (Acts 9-22; 26:19-23) and thereafter he spent his life preaching Jesus as the promised Messiah and the Son of God. It was while at Antioch that he received the ultimate mission of the Holy Spirit i.e. to go to the nations and preach the glad tidings (Acts 9:30; 11:25; 13:1-3; Gal 1:21).

No wonder St Paul is called “Alter Christus” and Apostle of the gentiles.

What diffusion of Christ’s words was lacking outside Palestine, Paul accomplished by his toil and doctrine elsewhere.

Mr G. should come up with quotations from the book of life and adapt them with reference to the context.

Even the liturgy of the day gives him the lie:

For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor 2-2).

There’s no doubt that after the break from his former life as a pagan, Paul was consistently and steadfastly “Cor unum et anima sofa” with Jesus. Their mysterious meeting was the root and the greatness of a faith which was strong enough to conquer the globe.

John Azzopardi, Zabbar