The art of being a friggin hypocrite

The concern facing revolving doors is not one that only concerns government officials, it also involves journalists. There have been several astonishing examples of revolving doors over the years

The other day two leading developers who together have combined investment projects of €600 million sent in their press statements.

A former journalist/media owner was fronting the statements making all the arguments why the projects made sense and why green groups had it all wrong.

It so just happens this person, only recently, spearheaded a political party’s campaign leading it to the worst electoral defeat in the history of that party.

But back to the point. Only some moons ago, the same individual was hitting out at this media company, which owns MaltaToday, for being commissioned to run a government-funded advertising campaign.

For weeks, your truly was battered and taken to the cleaners for having the audacity to accept these adverts and according to them, make millions.

The same mob launched tirade after tirade against this newspaper. What they did not say is that the newsroom at MaltaToday never changed tack on their opposition to certain infrastructural projects and that no advertising, whether government or private, influenced its editorial line.

The concern facing revolving doors is not one that only concerns government officials, it also involves journalists. There have been several astonishing examples of revolving doors over the years.

Becoming a spokesman for the construction industry is not a sin but it does raise many questions on who should be taken seriously. In this world of recrimination, it cannot be that people, including some notorious ex-politicians and lawyers, who sit with big business or serve big business, find no problem waving their flag at a civil society protest or pontificate to others what is right or wrong.

I would not be too surprised if this new knight in shining armour, the one who only some months ago was running around like the Maria Goretti of Maltese journalism, starts digging up stories about environmental groups, portraying them as some kind of paid mercenaries.

It is truly an art being a friggin hypocrite!

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On Saturday morning, I received a copy of an academic paper by former TV personality Norman Vella, which takes a look at the Maltese media.

I remember Norman asking me to give him some insight on how we operate as a media company. I had no idea the study was to be co-authored by Fr Joe Borg and Mary Ann Lauri and the consent form I had signed made no mention of the other two authors who I consider to be partisan and very anti-MaltaToday.

But one comment which he used in his study about my participation as a TV host on TVM was incomplete. Norman Vella, like many others feels hurt that he was axed from TVM. I know what it means. I too was axed in the past for reasons which involve one of his co-authors.

In my conversation with Norman Vella I reminisced on my days at TVM, and I reminded him that TVM had always been controlled by Castille.

I know that this will not be music to the ears of many, but it was far more controlled by Castille 20 and 15 years ago than it is today. To describe PBS as perfect would be taking it too far, but it would be appropriate to repeat what I told Norman Vella.

I reminded Norman Vella that at the time, the chance of being aired on TVM very much depended on what Castille decided. When I had complained that for years my applications for a programme had been ignored, I was told by the top man at Castille to speak to Fr Joe Borg.

In my old diary, I have a note of a meeting with Joe Borg, then head of TVM’s editorial board, and discussing my programme proposal. Joe Borg is the same individual who was politically appointed to head an editorial board under the Nationalist administration and who went on to model the Church radio station as a weaponised newsroom against anything which did not fall within his political point of view and that of his Archbishop.

He now appears as a co-author of the paper which Norman Vella wrote.

But beyond the recriminations and the academic papers there is no reason why we should not look at reforming public broadcasting.

Public broadcasting needs to look to the future. We cannot model a future broadcasting station with its digital arm on the moaning and groaning of the same posse of protesters. It has to go beyond that. What we need for the next 25 years is a broadcaster with a Maltese flavour immersed in objective, high quality, educational and entertainment audio visual productions freed from the shackles of political bi-partisanship.