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The fourth pillar is dead, long live the fourth pillar

Part of the blame of the rule of law deficit in Malta today falls squarely at the feet of a flailing fourth pillar. Most of it is made up of lackeys and has accepted to be neutered by the powers that be.

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A group of journalists dedicated to the same cause and with the same hard-headed willingness to put themselves at the service of the truth would be a damn good start.

Part of the blame of the rule of law deficit in Malta today falls squarely at the feet of a flailing fourth pillar. Most of it is made up of lackeys and has accepted to be neutered by the powers that be.

It’s October 2017. Civil society has already taken to the streets twice in an unprecedented call for the removal of two persons occupying positions of high authority. The assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia has been a huge shock to the system. The institutions of our liberal democracy are all under fire and are being questioned. The words “rule of law” are on the lips of everyone who is smart enough to worry and listen and Parliament has held a special session to discuss the possible strengthening of our institutions.

I have been blogging since March 2005 and I consider my blog to be a mixture of political punditry and civic activism. The blog has been my tool to present thoughts and ideas and debate them in the open. It is the place where ideas and principles such as the rule of law are debated and expanded. The blog is not however alone in the universe. Civil activism requires interaction, requires persuasive arguments and, above all, requires informed opinion.

There is a vacuum in civil society today. Ever since the 16th of October, when an important part of the fourth pillar tragically disappeared from our society, there is an emptiness insofar as investigative reporting is concerned. It’s not just that. Daphne Caruana Galizia had managed to garner enough of a following to become a depositary of leaks that had no other outlet. Leads and stories that were meant to be followed. They were followed. They were covered. Once you ignored the often unnecessary colouring that at times went with the narration, the stories had become essential for people like myself who needed to process the whole picture.

Yes. The big picture. The whole picture. Part of the blame of the rule of law deficit in Malta today falls squarely at the feet of a flailing fourth pillar. Most of it is made up of lackeys and has accepted to be neutered by the powers that be. In order for the rule of law to be returned we need to fill the huge void left by Daphne. Maybe one journalist will not be able to do so. However, a group of journalists dedicated to the same cause and with the same hard-headed willingness to put themselves at the service of the truth would be a damn good start.

Which is why I wish the team at The Shift all the best in this new endeavour. Your kind of project is badly needed. Here’s to hoping your pens and keyboards will take up the fight.

The truth, if I lie.

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