Repubblika supports The Shift News against Speaker’s ruling
Pressure group Repubblika yesterday extended its solidarity to The Shift News in light of the ruling delivered against it by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Anglu Farrugia earlier this week.
On Tuesday, the Speaker ruled in favour of MP Glenn Bedingfield regarding his request to correct details in an article published by The Shift News. The article in question said Bedingfield had “invented” a narrative that suited him with regard to the 17 Black issue.
The Speaker of the House ruled that News must correct its article.
However, Repubblika said yesterday that it considers the ruling “directly curtails, without due process, the freedom of expression that should be enjoyed by journalists.
“The unilateral censorship of free press by an institution is a curtailment of the right to know of all citizens.
“Repubblika is concerned about the Speaker’s position because it does not appear to take into account case law considerations, particularly those raised by Demicoli v Malta.“
In the context of the House of Representatives, a ruling of this nature is grossly inadequate when it comes to satisfying the requirements of a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Repubblika said. The Shift
“The Shift News was neither notified of the submission made by MP Glenn Bedingfield, nor was it given any opportunity to make submissions at any point during the proceedings. That the ruling does not specify the prescribed course of action further points to serious shortcomings in the Speaker’s verdict.”
The Shift News also referred to the fact that the Speaker’s ruling effectively ignored evidence which showed that MP Glenn Bedingfield had also made his remarks outside the House.
“The commentary published by The Shift News on Sunday is, as we understand it, fair comment and is protected by the European Court of Human Rights.
“Such comment is not only necessary but also desirable in a free and open society.”
Repubblika said it supports The Shift News’ position that the ruling cannot have any effect in view of the arguments put forward in their response to the Speaker.
“We insist that all institutions of the State act within the limits of the law, particularly the Constitutions and the fundamental rights charter to which Malta is signatory. And we insist that the free press is allowed to function without any further measures of intimidation perpetrated by the State in order to curtail free speech.”