Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield, who is also a member of the core communications team at the Office of the Prime Minister, has accused a foreign journalist of being a spokesperson for Nationalist Party MP Simon Busuttil despite the fact that the journalist has never met the former Opposition Leader.
One person that journalist Tim Rohn certainly did meet was Bedingfield himself, in which the Labour MP gave the journalist a doctored report on the rule of law. Bedingfield ended up being exposed himself rather than the people he was targeting.
Rohn visited Malta several times in the aftermath of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, writing investigative pieces for mainstream media such as Die Welt and Swiss digital magazine Republik. He was among the journalists who came face-to-face with Economy Minister Chris Cardona in a somewhat tipsy state at Ferdinand’s Bar in Siggiewi (separate to any information collected by The Daphne Project).
In line with his mission to push propaganda over fact, whether its through his role as a ‘blogger’ or an OPM communications staffer, the Labour MP posted a comment on Twitter that referred to “fake and forged documents in an attempt to subvert democracy”. Bedingfield was referring to the Egrant inquiry findings – and he should not have access to that report given to his boss by the Attorney General.
Testimonies in court last week by the Prime Minister and the Justice Minister said that only three people have access to that report apart from Joseph Muscat – the Justice Minister, Muscat’s lawyer Pawlu Lia and the head of government communications Kurt Farrugia (who Muscat said he is consulting on how to release the report in what has been a drip feed of attacks against dissenters).
Bedingfield’s post drew a reaction from Rohn, who has been following developments in Malta over the past year. The reason why it drew a reaction from the journalist is because the only person who handed Rohn a fake document when he was investigating his stories in Malta was Bedingfield himself.
Yet Bedingfield accused Rohn of being a spokesperson for Busuttil, someone Rohn has never met. The journalist told The Shift News: “It is obvious that Mr Bedingfield tries to establish a link between me and the Nationalist Party. In fact I have never been in touch with Mr Busuttil nor do I have any interest in getting in touch with him. Maltese partisan politics is not my topic. My focus is on the fruitless investigation in the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia and how the Maltese State is trying to ignore the need for change regarding the rule of law”.
“Beyond that I asked only a simple question: Why did you, Mr Bedingfield, give me a forged document? Instead of spreading conspiracy theories, he should just deliver an answer,” Rohn added.
In a meeting with the journalist late last year, Bedingfield handed Rohn a report on the collapse of the rule of law. The report had been prepared for the Caruana Galizia family but somehow ended up in the government’s hands – and aides started to share a doctored version of it to foreign journalists.
The Shift News had reported at the time how “someone went through the trouble of removing paragraphs on Pilatus Bank” in a report the government should not have had in its hands and which it certainly should have been distributing without saying it was a doctored version of someone else’s report.