Another handy down­player very much in use lately i“s the “it is still un­clear”.

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Panama are not some­thing he would find time to con­cern him­self with.

Also com­mon place is the phrase “the in­for­ma­tion re­quested is of a com­mer­cial na­ture and thus can­not be pub­lished”. This buzz phrase has now be­come the go-to phrase for ev­ery min­is­ter, min­istry, agency and pub­lic pri­vate part­ner­ship.

From Herod to Pi­late – pass it on un­til it comes round again, a lit­tle more worn. This one is cru­cial to the re­quests for in­for­ma­tion on the Vi­talis agree­ment for health ser­vices, for the Health & Safety Im­pact As­sess­ments of the LNG power sta­tion, for Elec­tro­gas com­mit­ments, for Air Malta dis­cus­sions, for Trans­port Malta and any other busi­ness. With it also comes “could not give a def­i­nite time-line”.

On the Of­fen­sive ones

These in­clude “with no dis­re­spect” – in­vari­ably fol­lowed by a clear lack of re­spect to­wards the per­son in ques­tion. It is also a good in­tro for bring­ing up some­thing from the PN past.

With it comes the now wildly fa­mous “neg­a­tive” accusation. Be­ing “neg­a­tive” was the first one com­monly used, an­tic­i­pat­ing the trend of oth­ers to come. Pos­si­bly aris­ing from a lack of vo­cab­u­lary and abil­ity to crit­i­cise in­tel­li­gently, this kinder­garten cliché is out­dated and yet con­tin­ues to be used in­dis­crim­i­nately. Chronic stag­na­tion.

Ev­i­dence of a false sense of su­pe­ri­or­ity and to­tally – ac­tu­ally – dis­re­spect­ful.

The ditched ones

All of this, when, three years ago, the buzz words were Trans­parency, Ac­count­abil­ity and Mer­i­toc­racy. Where are these words now? Rust­ing at the bot­tom of the sea, it seems. Maybe someone deleted them from the Labour lex­i­con and try as they might, these three pil­lar words of the 2013 elec­toral cam­paign, are un­re­cov­er­able.

Weak re­place­ments are No Com­ment. No com­ment on whether Kon­rad Mizzi should re­sign or whether Manuel Mal­lia should have re­signed or on how the pro­mo­tions at the AFM and the Po­lice are man­aged or mag­is­trates ap­pointed.

Is it the re­sult of a 36,000 ma­jor­ity that per­mits this stu­pid­ity and lack of re­spon­si­bil­ity to­wards the pub­lic and Par­lia­ment? How far can it stretch? Is it time for jour­nal­ists to stop both­er­ing to show up at press con­fer­ences or to stop send­ing their ques­tions by email? Let the show­men be ig­nored and you will soon find one who breaks rank and craftily come out with the com­ment.

As things stand, it is fu­tile and a waste of time to pur­sue in­for­ma­tion and in­ter­views which might re­sult in ac­tu­ally bring­ing news and anal­y­sis to the pub­lic. When the press of­fice of Castille comes call­ing to ask why no­body showed up at the con­fer­ence or why there is no men­tion in the news of the “im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment”, why not re­turn the re­ply: send your ques­tions by email. The me­dia has bet­ter things to do than stand for this con­ceit. Not re­port­ing any of the stan­dard empty phrases, will do no dis­ser­vice to the pub­lic and time could be bet­ter used to do some in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the facts lead­ing to the real story. On the con­trary, we might have some relief from the chronic cliché fa­tigue.

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