Bigger, bolder, stronger

It is going to take so much more than removing some flowers and candles to silence calls for justice following the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. This is what the puppets of government fail to understand.

They do not get that we are not bought with a job or promise of wealth – we achieve that without favours. We achieve that because we are competent and determined. It goes without saying that we fight for principle because we believe in it, not because a political party tells us what to think.

This is a concept that both political parties fail to grasp in terms of trying to understand and silence our determination. The flowers and candles at Daphne’s memorial were removed, but they will be replaced. There is no doubt about that. Every time they attempt to silence us, our numbers increase.

Politicians will be among those laying new candles and flowers to revive the memorial, but they are accessories and nothing more. Their failure has led us to this situation, and while grief may be shared the way forward is not.

Malta’s present situation, with the threat to press freedom faced, can be laid squarely at the feet of both political parties. Was Daphne used? Yes, she was. Both by those who needed her and those who hated her for what she exposed.

It is the inevitable fate of every journalist in Malta. It is no surprise that most end up working in the newsrooms of political parties. Those who pretend to remain impartial know they can only keep their name on the front page if they accept handouts that come at a price.

These pseudo-independent journalists are the first to point a finger at the bias of others. Yet, a long hard look in the mirror would strip them of their false self-assurance.

The fight for justice for Daphne has exposed the hypocrisy of the Maltese media. In any sane democratic country, who would argue that justice for a journalist killed is a necessary endeavour?

The supposedly-independent press was quick to come together under a message that ‘the pen conquers fear”. The message was in fact one of unity; a unity that meant we had to ignore inconvenient truths for the sake of a false, forced calm.

Disunity is not only the result of a political divide between blue and red. The two parties that have created an electoral system that survives on creating dependency through clientelism instead of observing rights continue to try to assert our new reality within their respective narratives.

Guess what? It does not fit. You can say the same things till your tonsils scream murder, but you will still fail. Rather than attack the people who tell you this – and we know because we are getting those attacks from all sides of the political spectrum frustrated they cannot control us – try to listen to people’s concerns.

Both political parties can continue to raise questions on who is funding The Shift News and feed trolls to discredit us. Who is funding us? Simple answer, the people. Who are we serving? Simple answer, the people. What is our agenda? Simple answer, justice and democracy.

Until you understand that, we will be there: bigger, stronger, louder.




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