Joseph Calleja 'condemns' Germans' portrayal of Malta on hunting exposé

Maltese tenor and culture ambassador Joseph Calleja uses his official Facebook page to condemn the way Malta was portrayed in an RTL television production on hunting.

Maltese tenor and cultural ambassador Joseph Calleja public has condemned the way Malta was portrayed in a feature produced by German station RTL on the Campaign Against Birds' Slaughter's (CABS) spring watch in Malta, on his official Facebook page.

The world-reknowned tenor said illegal hunting had tarnished the reputation of Maltese people, but added that the media should have focused on the ordeals faced by migrants travelling to Malta, and even said the CABS drone shot down by hunters should be used to effect rescue mission for migrants at sea.

“Whilst I deplore and condemn any form of poaching or illegal hunting I equally condemn the way that Malta was portrayed in the German media on the RTL TV station.

“This is not what Malta and the Maltese are about and one can hardly generalise because some individuals go renegade and behave in an unacceptable manner,” Calleja wrote.

Equipped with a miniature camera, a remote-controlled plane was flown over a number of localities in Malta by CABS, without permission from local authorities - something that has riled the hunting community and one Labour MP, Michael Falzon.

One of the drones used by the watchdog was reportedly shot down by hunters in the area of Zabbar.

Receiving support from other fellow Facebook-ers, Calleja said he found it irresponsible that a whole nation could be ‘negatively portrayed’ as one of “psychos and bird-killers”.

“Illegal hunting in Malta is simply more visible because of our small size, our island having no remote countryside. This is of course no excuse and illegal hunting should not happen,” Calleja continued.

The tenor said that illegal hunting was not a concern unique to Malta and felt that RTL should have focused on other issues affecting the country. “Perhaps RTL should have focused instead on the HUMAN immigration problem Malta is facing as Europe's most southern tip and help putting into much needed light the grave problems our country is facing.

“Malta needs help from its larger neighbours to deal with the unfortunate souls who risk life and limb in search of dignity and a decent future on our shores and beyond,” Calleja said.

Calleja added that CABS could put their drones to better use. “Incidentally CABS gave me a great idea. Drones could be utilised to search the Mediterranean for immigrants in distress. How many women with small children have died because help wasn't sent in time?”

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Dear Mr Calleja. Freedom of speech in German is not just practiced but is viewed as a sacrosanct pillar of their human rights. The German media is extremely critical of perceived injustices, not only within its borders but also outside while no other nation is so self conscious of it’s own track record of respecting ethnic & religious minorities. A fascist Germany is a thing of the past while modern Germany is extremely fastidious not to allow a semblance of fascist sentiment in their constitution. The last one who dared tell the german press what they should or shouldn’t do was their previous president and he was swept away in a wave of public outrage. The Tymoschenko saga is another case in point. No other nation would have even dared to act so strongly against the internal injustices of another European state which speaks volumes for the German sense of justice. We Maltese, on the other hand, really have problems to accept any form of criticism, deserved or otherwise. Exaggerated or not, this RTL documentary, has exposed a blemish in our facade which we have constantly ignored. CABS have been coming to Malta for a number of years, so this documentary is hardly a spontaneous act but one based on experience. What they have filmed is distasteful but the footage speaks for itself. It is up to us how to react in the face of such negative headlines but resorting to telling the press what they should or shouldn’t print is both infantile and counterproductive.