Stooges for PN propaganda

The feeble PN uses the English-language dailies in Malta to unremittingly firing salvos of often vitriolic invective against the Labour government

14 April 2017, 7:38am
When we returned to our offices, I got to thinking of the situation, and the more I ruminated, the more I disliked the idea
When we returned to our offices, I got to thinking of the situation, and the more I ruminated, the more I disliked the idea
I do not know much about matters at the Times of Malta today, and can only comment on what I see happening from the paper’s reportage. From most of the reports which Mr Ivan Camilleri submits to the paper, which the ToM carries so diligently, it appears to me that Mr Camilleri is not a reporter who is under the control of the paper’s editor, except legalistically in relation to legal points in his writing.

Mr Camilleri seems to be a man with one mission: to dig into any information relating to the Labour government, and present it in his reports as best as he can, to make it as unpalatable as possible about the government.

I guess it is also a right to be one-sided, though the one-sidedness is carried by a paper that flaunts the reputation for fair reporting that it once had, which it buried long ago.

The ToM has in several instances quite validly sought to cast doubt about government intentions, but has it questioned the Opposition leader’s judgement in the extraordinary situation he created for himself and his party about party financing? Does the db Group debacle leave Simon Busuttil fit for purpose? Does it compromise his credibility? What is the ToM’s position about the highly dubious cedoli scheme, and about Beppe Fenech Adami’s situation? I do not know that the ToM has ever pronounced itself on these serious PN issues, though it comments on government issues with abandon.

I do not mind Mr Camilleri’s one-sided reporting as much as the ToM’s obvious slant, while purporting to be a pillar of fair-mindedness. The ToM has questioned some of the government’s property deals, which it has every right to do, but is it serious at the same time to ignore, for instance, the Fekruna and Lowenbrau deals, which were as significant, if not more serious?

I remember an occasion, when I was senior deputy editor there (I retired from the paper in 2004), and we were treated to a morning do at the late Guido de Marco’s residence at Mile End. I am writing from memory, and do not remember the date, or if it was a lunch.

I remember that those present, apart from myself, included – if I can recall properly from memory – the late Anthony Montanaro and Laurence Grech, and other editors of the Times and the Sunday Times. In the course of our discussion, Dr de Marco informed us he thought it would be an asset for the Times to have Dr Joe Cassar on its staff. I believe Dr Cassar was at the time either Malta’s Ambassador to the US, or Malta’s permanent representative at the UN.

No one, including myself, made any remark, and Dr de Marco extolled Dr Cassar’s qualities.

When we returned to our offices, I got to thinking of the situation, and the more I ruminated, the more I disliked the idea. Never one to let grass grow under my feet, I penned a note to Dr de Marco, copying it to the editors of the ToM, the SToM, and others, I think including the company management, to express my disagreement with Dr de Marco’s idea. I said explicitly I would not like to have to work and look back over my shoulder at someone who was Guido de Marco’s ear.

I don’t remember what else I wrote, apart from pointing out that Dr Cassar was a well-known PN figure and his presence at the Times would undoubtedly harm the paper.

Others, maybe, also expressed themselves against the idea, or for it, though I am sure no one did as bluntly as I – I am afraid I never cared for niceties. But I never heard of anyone else who had expressed an opinion, for or against.

Dr de Marco never acknowledged my note. Dr Cassar was not employed by the ToM. I do not know why that was, perhaps he did not want to be. Perhaps he was never approached about it.

Today it is not a Cassar at the ToM, but a Camilleri. Outlooks have obviously changed. So have the people into whose control Mabel Strickland’s life’s work fell. She left that to untrustworthy hands, having fallen in her frail old age for the blandishments of a silky tongue and political cajoleries, and then driven into a tight corner by a powerful bully whom she feared wanted to control her beloved newspapers. To circumvent the bully, she created the papers’ owner, the Strickland Foundation, which today is in such disrepute.

The feeble PN uses the English-language dailies in Malta to unremittingly firing salvos of often vitriolic invective against the Labour government. The PN always bleats about democracy, did you ever hear it thump its tubercular chest for a level playing field, or against unfair dealings?

Power does corrupt, and so do envy and unfettered ambition.

Roger Mifsud, Rabat

Sale of BOV equity in MIDI

I refer to you’re the report ‘BOV’s off-market sale of MIDI shares tagged at nominal 0.01c per share’ which featured on www.maltatoday.com, Wednesday 5 April 2017.

The transaction was for a substantial shareholding in another listed company and the price at which the deal was struck was negotiated at arm’s length between the buyer and the Bank.

The Bank would like to highlight that both transaction and price are in line with the applicable regulation and market practice for such off-market deals. 

The transaction was executed via the Bank’s own stockbroking desk.

You will certainly appreciate that the negotiations between the parties including the price received by the bank is confidential information. The sale reflects Bank of Valletta’s strategy to reduce its exposure to non-core assets.

Charles Azzopardi, Head PR & Marketing, Bank of Valletta

Teach history before religion

Before children are indoctrinated with more religion at school, they should be taught about the crimes and atrocities committed in the name of God and religion. At the end of a three-year course, they can decide for themselves whether they want to belong to any of the so-called “monotheistic” religions.

The course would start with a survey of the endless controversies in which the early Christians were involved. They squabbled over Arianism, Donatism, Ebionism, Gnosticism, Montanism, Marcionism, Sabellianism, Priscillianism, Monothelitism and other tongue-twisting “isms”. Fanaticism was so rampant among early Christians that they massacred each other over mere words and phrases in their own creed.

In the second year, students will be taught the bloody history of the Christian crusades against Islam as well as the sad history of the persecution of the Jews by Christians. In this segment, students will also learn about the horrific tortures sanctioned by the “holy” Inquisition, including the burning alive of thousands of “heretics” and “witches”.

In the third year, students will be introduced to the Reformation and the Thirty Years War. They will learn about the cruelties of faith, and why men began to doubt creeds that preached Christ and practiced wholesale fratricide.

They will also be taught about the crimes and atrocities committed in the name of Allah. Students won’t need any textbooks. All they have to do is to read the daily newspapers.

The course would conclude with two lectures entitled “Religion kills” and “Religion poisons everything”.

John Guillaumier, St Julian’s