Update 2 | Net TV’s fabricated Sorsi Infurmati tape ‘despicable attempt to cause political discord’ at Central Bank

Malta’s Central Bank condemns PN television station’s fraudulent use of footage and audio as bank employees take sworn affidavit denying they chanted partisan songs • No denial that Labour anthems were sung during party, Net TV says in reaction

One TV's Karl Stagno Navarra (left) said Joe Mikallef's use of video and audio from unconnected events were used to create the impression of a party inside the Central Bank
One TV's Karl Stagno Navarra (left) said Joe Mikallef's use of video and audio from unconnected events were used to create the impression of a party inside the Central Bank

A statement by NET TV, claiming that the three Central Bank of Malta employees were requested to declare that they did not sing political chants during a Christmas party, is false, the the CBM's communications department has claimed.

The bank was reacting to Net TV’s claims that the Central Bank had tried to coerce three staff members into declaring that they had not sung any political chants.

Sorsi Infurmati, the Nationalist Party TV station, aired footage that purportedly showed the bank’s staff dancing while chanting “Viva l-Labour”.

"The Central Bank did not make any such requests. It was these three staff members who took the initiative to take a sworn affidavit, following the publication of a still photograph (not blurred, contrary to the claim by NET TV) of them during the NET TV programme aired on Wednesday 30th January 2019," a spokesperson for the department said. 

The Central Bank was eagerly awaiting NET TV’s promised proof, they said.

Earlier, the Central Bank strongly condemned a “despicable attempt at causing political discord among the bank’s staff” over the alleged recording of people chanting a partisan Labour song during a Christmas party.

The footage aired by Net TV was revealed to have been taken from a 2013 YouTube video of a nightclub in Barcelona, while Labour Party TV station One revealed on Pjazza that the audio belonged to the 2017 election chanting inside the electoral counting hall.

 “This was later admitted unapologetically by the person commenting about the clip,” the bank said, referring to Sorsi Infurmati’s Joe Micallef arguing that there was no implication that the footage was from the actual party.  

“The recent attempt to portray the Annual Christmas party organised by the bank’s social club as a political party activity complete with political chants was a despicable attempt to suggest that the Central Bank is run on politically partisan lines,” the bank.

“The Central Bank of Malta (CBM) strongly rejects and condemns any attempt, from within and outside the bank, to cause political division or discord among the Banks’ staff.”

The bank said that the three employees whose photographs were misleadingly shown on the Sorsi Informati programme have taken sworn affidavits that at no point during the annual Christmas party of the Bank did they sing or dance to political chants.

The bank added that it considers the issue closed and that it had always taken appropriate action whenever it had hard evidence of breaches in its Code of Conduct.

“The Bank also strongly denies allegations of political discrimination made by [Joe Mikallef] both on the said TV programme and his various articles published in il-Mument.”

Net TV reaction

In a reaction to the Central Bank’s statement, Net TV was adamant that the bank has still not denied that Labour Party anthems weren’t sung by certain people during its Christmas party.

“The Central Bank said that three employees who were shown, with their face blurred out, on the Sorsi Infurmati programme, were requested to declare that they didn’t sing Labour anthems during the Christmas celebration,” it said.

“But nowhere does the statement say that others didn’t sign the anthem during the early hours of morning.”