Repubblika: ‘Lost opportunity’ to open media reforms for public consultation

New media reforms will not be open for public consultation

Rule-of-law NGO Repubblika said its disappointed in the governments decision to table new media reforms in parliament without a public consultation.

In a statement, Repubblika said government lost the opportunity to open the media reforms to public consultation.

“If government really wants, as it says it wants, to build respect for the free press as the fourth pillar of democracy, there should be no difficulty in giving journalists and the public a chance to take part in the drafting of laws supposed to protect their interests.”

“We still hope that the government is genuinely open to reforms that allow for freedom of the press in Malta, and we therefore reiterate our appeal for an open consultation before these Bills go to Parliament.”

Justice Minister Jonathan Attard presented three Bills on Wednesday that will be presented to the House after receiving feedback from a government-appointed committee to analyse the state of journalism in Malta.

However, the Bills will not be presented for public consultation, as was requested in a letter to the Prime Minister by newspaper editors and journalists.

Instead, any amendments will be discussed at committee stage in parliament.

Attard defended the decision to go straight to parliament with the laws as the prime minister had held discussions with the Institute of Maltese Journalists, international NGOs, as well as the Caruana Galizia family.

These Bills were also presented in public to the media experts commission, which had all liberty to hold its own consultations with other parties, the minister said.

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