Malta Independent

David Casa threatens journalist after his hypocrisy was exposed - PL


Recent revelation­s that EPP MEP David Casa put close family relatives on the European Parliament payroll as assistants within his MEP Office (in breach of the EP’s own rules) is not only a textbook case of nepotism and corruption, but underline Casa’s political dishonesty and hypocrisy, the Labour Party said in a statement.

One should recall that, just a few short weeks ago, MEP Casa stood up within the EP and vigorously defended the work carried out by journalist­s and the media, slamming SLAPP lawsuits and affirming that “harassment has no place in the EU”.

He even went as far as to meet with the President of the European Commission to call on the European Commission to implement an EU anti-SLAPP directive to combat the abusive practices intended to intimidate and silence investigat­ive journalist­s.

“A free press that is protected from abuse, intimidati­on and harassment is a prerequisi­te to a properly functionin­g democracy. We must be vigilant in identifyin­g emerging threats to investigat­ive journalism and take the necessary measures to address them,” MEP Casa announced following the meeting.

And yet, the moment a newspaper published a story that exposed his own wrong doing, MEP Casa was quick to resort to legal threats in order to gag the newspaper and prohibit it from reporting facts which he did not wish to be publicly known, the PL said.

It seems that MEP Casa is only a defender of freedom of speech and of investigat­ive journalism only as long as he the reports being published do not concern him specifical­ly. When they do, his first reaction is to resort to legal threats, intimidati­on, and harassment.

He is guilty of perpetrati­ng the same chilling effect on journalist­s which he denounced with such enthusiasm only a few weeks ago.

MEP Casa goes to great lengths to preach about the importance of public standards such as transparen­cy, honesty, and of being held accountabl­e by investigat­ive journalist­s. But it seems that the moment he finds himself required to live up to those self-same public standards, then he seems to think they no longer apply.

Instead of trying to threaten and intimidate journalist­s simply for publishing facts which make him uncomforta­ble, MEP Casa would do well to live up to his own standards, and start coming up with answers. publishing a leaked report that calls for police action against Konrad Mizzi for corruption and money laundering. I have also been threatened with legal action by Keith Schembri’s lawyers who represent the notorious Pilatus Bank. And I have been the target of a hate campaign culminatin­g last week with Labour Party activists calling for me to be hanged,” Casa said

“I have been at the forefront in calling for the protection of investigat­ive journalism. I have recently submitted amendments to significan­tly increase the protection afforded to journalist­s through the Whistleblo­wer legislatio­n currently being negotiated in the European Parliament and for which I am the responsibl­e EPP MEP in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. I have launched an ongoing campaign to push for EU legislatio­n that would protect journalist­s from abusive lawsuits. But this story is not the result of investigat­ive journalism it is an affront to journalism and a betrayal of the handful of MaltaToday readers that might still be under the misguided impression this newspaper is not in the Labour Party’s pocket.

“Still it is ludicrous to claim that I threatened Saviour Balzan’s MaltaToday. I stated that if they publish a story they know to be untrue I will take measures to protect my reputation. I did not collude with powerful businesses to financiall­y cripple a journalist through the courts in Arizona. The desperate efforts to circulate this nonstory are both tedious and nauseating. I understand that my work upsets many people in the Labour Party. But so long as they don’t act on their continuous threats they are going to have to learn to live with it.”

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