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Newspaper Review


Today’s newspapers carry different stories, ranging from an interview with Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi and his accusations in Parliament about a police tip-off in the arrest of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder suspects,  the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day and the tribute to Daphne Caruana Galizia at the European Parliament, the report on an international oil smuggling operation coordinated from Malta, the decision to annul the decision related to TownSquare tower building in Sliema and the opening of a new aviation maintenance company in Malta.

Jesmond Saliba’s newspaper review for today follows.

The Malta Independent leads with an InDepth interview from the Malta Independent Editor In Chief Rachel Attard,  with Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi following his allegation in Parliament that Police Sergeant Aldo Cassar called one of the suspects in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia to tip him off. In the report <<Why Jason Azzopardi won’t repeat claims of a police tip-off to journalist’s murder suspects in court>> Azzopardi is quoted saying that he will not repeat claims made in Parliament in order to protect multiple ‘police sources’. Azzopardi was challenged by Labour MP Robert Abela to repeat allegations outside of Parliament, adding that he (Azzopardi) would not because he knows them to be untrue.

In a second story, the newspaper reports that Bravo Aircraft Technical Services Limited (BATS) has launched a new facility at the Malta International Airport to join the aviation cluster in Malta providing services that complement maintenance companies such as Lufthansa Technik, SR Technics, MCM, Medavia and Air Malta.

A photo story, on the front page of the news paper shows a decorated St George’s Square, following the inauguration of the Valletta Green Festival.

The backpage carries an article by Nationalist MEP Francis Zammit Dimech entitled <<A better European media with stronger protection>>.

The editorial of The Malta Independent entitled <<Delia lays down the gauntlet>> refers to the declaration done by Nationalist Party Leader Adrian Delia interpreted as having laying down the gauntlet to those dissenting members of his parliamentary group who are quite clearly refusing to get on board the ‘New Way’ he is seeking to forge the party. The editorial adds that ‘the part suffered a fracture that may threaten to turn into a fully fledged break unless Delia can manage to put water under the bridge and find strength in having opposition within the Opposition.

The Times of Malta’s prominence is dedicated to a photo story showing European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who yesterday unveiled a sculpture donated by Maltese artist Kevin Scerri to mark International Press Freedom Day. Speaking during a meeting with the parents of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Mr Tajani and MEP Roberta Metsola reiterated they would not stop fighting for justice and truth.

The main story << Fuel smuggling operation coordinated from Malta>> carries a report, part of the Daphne Project, which reveals that Malta has been identified as the centre of a well-coordinated, multi-million euro fuel-smuggling operation with stolen Libyan fuel products traded at the island’s Hurds Bank or even through established storage facilities inside Grand Harbour and Birżebbuġa. The operation, which started following the 2011 collapse of Libya’s Gaddafi regime, evolved into a large criminal organisation coordinated by Maltese, Libyan and Sicilian businessmen close to the Mafia, and who were “left undisturbed” to carry on with their business despite various reports passed onto the Maltese authorities, including by the United Nations.

The third story on The Times Front Page << Sliema rejoices as Townsquare thrown out >> reports that “the permit for a 38-storey Townsquare tower in Sliema was annulled yesterday as the planning review tribunal sent the developers back to the drawing board. The €100 million project had been approved by the Planning Authority in September 2016, giving rise to a list of appeals. The Environment and Planning Review Tribunal yesterday upheld the appeals, citing the inadequacy of studies carried out for the project. Townsquare directors present for the hearing told the Times of Malta they would be analysing the decision but declined to comment further.”

The backpage of The Times carries a Talking Point by Parliamentary Secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli. Entitled << Monsters, mothers and politicians>> the article refers to the attack she’s been subjected following the infamous Democratic Party Facebook status, which labelled her as a “village escort”, and which was extremely touching on a personal level. “When I decided to join the political fray, I was prepared to grow a thicker skin. I also knew that there might be moments when I would have to sit down with my young daughter and husband to unpack and defy any mud-slinging thrown in my direction. Nonetheless, it never crossed my mind that in these early days in my life as a parliamentarian, I would need to explain to my daughter that serving my constituents and my country had not turned me into a bad mother and a bad wife. I find great comfort in the thought that I owe it to my daughter to show her by example that she too can have agency in any sphere of life but that this may come at a cost.”

The editorial, entitled << No risk-free workplace>> focuses on occupational health and safety, a theme discussed during a conference organised by the UHM on the occasion of Worker’s Day. It argues that industrial relations policymakers need to be more visible in naming and shaming employers who show little respect for their workers by not ensuring the wages for work done are ringfenced from the company’s other financial assets. While no workplace is risk-free, inept business managers are undoubtedly dispensable.” 

In-Nazzjon’s main story entitled <<Soċjeta li ma tagħrafx il-kapaċitajiet tal-persuni b’abbilitajiet differenti tkun qed taħli l-opportuitajiet>> refers to a declaration done by the Nationalist Party Leader Adrian Delia during a visit he did at Dar Il-Kaptan which provides respite service for people with disability. Dr Delia described his experience as one of the most beautiful experiences he had in the past seven months. The second story of In-Nazzjon, <<Aktar żbalji mill-Pulizija jwasslu biex akkużati jinħelsu fil-Qorti>> refers to procedural errors done by the police which are resulting in situations where the people accused with crime are being released from the court.

The back-page has a photo of St. George’s Square in Valletta, duly decorated for the Valletta Green Festival. Another story entitled <<Tfajla tirrakonta kif ħalliel rabtha minn idejha u saqajha>> refers to the witness given in court about the investigations carried by the police on a hold-up which took place in 2011.

The editorial of In-Nazzjon ˘<<Il-fatti mikxufin minn ġurnalisti dinjin>> focuses on the reporting being done by international media forming part of the consortium working on the Daphne Project on the various accusations levied at Malta’s government.

L-Orizżzont’s front page has four stories. It has a photo of the island of Filfla in the background of a wave hitting the shore, entitled <<Malta tintlaqat minn temp xitwi>> referring to the cold spell of weather hitting Malta in the past few days. The main story, <<Tellfuli nofs iċ-ċans li jista’ jkolli tarbija>> is about the experience of a 30 year old married woman because of a condition, being ectopic and because of certain interpretations (at times draconian) of laws related to abortion, are leading to situation where the life of the mother is being endangered. The two other stories focus on the music festival ‘Lost and Found’, which is expected to attract 9,000 British tourists and which should generate €7,000,000 for the Maltese economy and about the efforts to keep the Maltese beaches. The backpage of Orizzont carries a story entitled <<Se jkun rivedut il-verdett ta’ ħtija ta’ Al-Megrahi>>, which refers to the announcement done by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which is currently considering a revision of the verdict which had found Al-Megrahi guilty in the case of the Pan Am explosion on Lockerbie.

The editorial, <<Nipprromwovu it-Talent Lokali>> refers to the appointment of Ray Farrugia as coach of the Malta National Team of Football.