Updated | Prime Minister condemns media 'collusion' comments by Stagno Navarra

Karl Stagno Navarra said footage of Lovin Malta journalist Tim Diacono reporting from a Repubblika demonstration symbolised 'collusion' between the press, PN and Church

One TV presenter Karl Stagno Navarra
One TV presenter Karl Stagno Navarra

Updated at 3:57pm with OPM statement

The Prime Minister has condemned recent comments by One TV journalist Karl Stagno Navarra where he singled out Lovin Malta journalist Tim Diacono for representing part of the 'anti-Labour establishment'. 

During his show Pjazza, Stagno Navarra said that footage of Diacono reporting the protest from the event symbolised "four institutions that have declared themselves against the Labour Party or PL government - Repubblika, the PN, the Church and the media".

After this, a spokesperson from the Office of the Prime Minister told Lovin Malta that the Prime Minister condemned the attack. 

"The Prime Minister was always clear and even condemned any comment that may hinder journalists whilst carrying out their job. Singling out Tim Diacono while doing his job is unacceptable."

Stagno Navarra is being taken to task for incitement against a peaceful demonstration of Repubblika activists in a sit-in outside the police headquarters in Floriana.

Stagno Navarra’s Pjazza on Wednesday aired images of MPs from the Nationalist Party, as well as a priest conversing with the activists, together with that of Diacono reporting on the demonstration.

In his segment, Stagno Navarra suggested in no uncertain terms an act of collusion between the NGO and the press, the PN and the Church, by grouping the four individuals in a series of stills.

The NGO Occupy Justice accused the Labour mouthpiece of inciting hatred by undermining what is a legitimate protest outside the police HQ where a 72-hour sit-in protest by Repubblika is ongoing.

Occupy Justice also claimned energy minister Miriam Dalli approved Stagno Navarra’s words as a guest on his programme. “One of Robert Abela’s ‘star ministers’ was also on set, approving the message portrayed by the TV station and therefore encouraging it.”

Occupy Justice said Labour leader Robert Abela should apologise to the protestors on behalf of One TV and minister Dalli to also condemn the message aired on Wednesday.

“We call on this action by the Prime Minister as we reiterate our repeated calls over the last weeks for the immediate implementation of the findings of the inquiry into the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia.”

Occupy Justice encouraged the public to join a Friday protest and support activists that “have to suffer endless harassment at the hands of government officials and professional Labour Party propagandists.”

Repubblika has also written a letter to Prime Minister Robert Abela, arguing that the One TV reporting on the protest was not only hostile and cruel, but false and full of hatred.

“Whoever is protesting is being painted as part of an ‘establishment’ that seeks power. Objectively this is a farcical accusation, however One TV are knowingly doing it, as they are aware that there is an audience that is ready to believe it,” Repubblika President Robert Aquilina wrote.

He said the reporting identified persons that could have been supporting the protest, and tried to discredit them and scare away others from doing so. “As a Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party you have the power and therefore the duty to intervene, and not let One TV ignite hatred against protestors and justify those ready to commit violence.”