Whatever it takes to prevent Bernard Grech dancing on TikTok is a good thing

The Skinny | No 96 – Peregin’s PN Pilgrimage

What are we skinning? The news that Christian Peregin, founder of LovinMalta and as of recently its CEO, will be relinquishing his role at the online news portal and joining the Nationalist Party in a role of ‘strategic support’.

Why are we skinning it? Because the move effectively means that one of the island’s most powerful media players has joined the beleaguered Opposition party to lend a hand ahead of an election - certainly a notable development.

But when it boils down to it, it’s just a case of another journalist leaving the profession for a glorified political PR post, right? Yes and no. Peregin’s journalistic pedigree is quite extensive, and LovinMalta is something of a self-made powerhouse. For better or for worse, it has changed the local media landscape irrevocably…

Thing is though - he’s leaving all that behind now. To paraphrase Peregin’s own words, his job on that front is, apparently, done. Added degree of media pluralism achieved.

So now he’s going to take that pluralism and just inject it into… the PN? That would certainly be a sound-enough surface-level prediction. But of course, only time will tell how it’ll all pan out.

Still though, his role - vaguely defined as it is right now - is likely to lean strongly towards media and PR… Yes, and the harsh scrutiny of political party media - to the point where their existence, to begin with, is questioned - was one of LovinMalta’s most recent - and most fervent - crusades.

Yeah, can’t seem to reconcile that one, myself. Peregin does, by claiming that the case was never about shutting them down but about ensuring they adhere to rules of transparency and impartiality, in full respect of the Constitution.

Still, I imagine there will be a few awkward moments coming up. His first appearance on NET will be a nail-biter, for sure.

I hope listicle articles won’t be the next thing out of the gate. Whatever it takes to spice up their image and prevent Bernard Grech dancing on TikTok once again is a good thing, in my books.

Having said all that, I still don’t see how the country gains from having Peregin at the PN instead of heading the ship he helped forge at LovinMalta. Stagnation is what led to the death of the PN as we knew it in the run up to the fateful 2013 election, so perhaps a fresh jolt away from LovinMalta will help Peregin transfer an apposite degree of much-needed energy to the PN.

But he’s a young journalist and entrepreneur. Why would he want to rot inside a party structure? It will be fully down to Peregin to prove us wrong in assuming that such a post invites rotting by default.

Do say: “A journalist ‘defecting’ to the political sphere shouldn’t be news, but the founder of one of the most disruptive forces in local media in recent years joining an ailing opposition party ostensibly to ‘fix democracy’ is a cracking story in and of itself, and we’ll certainly be watching this space for more updates.”

Don’t say: “Imagine Peregin just joins PN to dismantle NET TV, then heads back to LovinMalta? That’s just the kind of high-level trolling we need to restore our collective faith in post-pandemic humanity.”