Delayed information is equivalent to denied information
Our summer, now thankfully over, is a long summer, and our parliamentary summer is even longer. Parliament is due to resume after the Summer Recess today fortnight.
It will maybe be at that time that the prime minister will feel he must inform the House and the country about the many visits and the many meetings he has taken part in over the past months.
But that will be too late to properly inform the country about international events and their impact on Malta. The country has been starved of vital and timely information.
Providing that information now, when Parliament resumes, and in the manner that parliamentary statements are made and questions answered, is a disservice to the whole nation.
We have had in this interval, the prime minister taking part in the Athens summit, then in the Bratislava one. That’s as regards the EU.
Lately there has been the trip to the UN, the
meeting with President Obama, the investment by Crane Currency and various bilateral meetings.
It used to be the tradition that the prime minister takes a posse of reporters with him to such trips and takes time to answer their questions. This has now been downgraded to a photographer and one or two reporters only.
There used to be a time when the head of government held regular press conferences – until some aggressive tactics by the Labour media (including following the prime minister with camera rolling into a lift) put paid to that.
So all that Joe Public has is a picture or two and a sycophantic report by a hand-picked journalist or reporter.
There are innumerable questions that the public would want to ask regarding Malta’s stance at Athens and in Bratislava. All the public has been given was a turgid press release after the Bratislava summit which went unreported, and which should have led to more questions than answers. As for the UN, we have the UN speech but nothing about the meeting with President Obama – which leads to the suspicion that this was just a photo-op for the prime minister and his consort.
Now in a fortnight’s time, if we are lucky, we will have more information, hoping that by then it will not be too late.
This administration has not gone out of its way to make itself available to the media. On the contrary, it disdains meeting them on a level playing field. Its press releases are many times mere copies of the speeches that were made.
Granted that in a polarised country such as ours, a section of the media will always be antagonistic and out to trip the speaker up, but this does not mean that all the media is like that. Or that it is in any way preferable to starve the public from the information the public has a right to.