Green MT libel case against newspaper dismissed

Green MT Limited, a waste collection service provider, argued that an article published in L-Orizzont, calling a cash grant scheme 'bait', was libellous

The court threw out a libel case filed by Green MT Limited against the editor of the L-Orizzont newpaper, Josef Caruana.

Green MT, represented by lawyer Joe Attard, asked the court to declare that an article published on 21 November 2012, titled “€2,000 lixka” (€2,000 bait), included material that was libellous and defamatory.

According to the article published on L-Orizzont, the €2,000 cash grant incentive was to “bait” local councils into participating in a waste collection scheme, run by the plaintiff.

Green MT is one of two entities that provide garbage collection schemes in various local councils. 

Attard insisted this article was aimed at tainting the reputation of Green MT.

Caruana argued that the article only included comment on facts that are of interest to the general public. He had claimed that he only exercised his right in a democratic society and it was his duty to inform his readers on current events.

Green MT insists that the grant was aimed at encouraging the councils’ participation.

Documents exhibited in court show that the Maltese Association of Local Councils had expressed its concerns over the workings of this cash grant. Michael Cohen, president of the association, was quoted as aying that it was acceptable to encourage local councils to participate, but was concerned over the fact that the scheme was based on cash grants.  

Magistrate Francesco Depasquale noted that the offering money as an incentive for participation was not being disputed and therefore using the term 'bait' was in fact accurate. The case was dismissed.