The year ended the same way it started… with demands that we remove our stories. We reacted the same way we did a year ago – we refused to change our content. Again, we refused to be silenced.
Last week, Henley & Partners again told us to remove our story on allegations on the firm in the Caribbean – the same story the company demanded that we remove a year ago. We told them the same thing we did then – that we do not entertain requests to remove or change our stories.
Our defence of press freedom was acknowledged on our first-year anniversary by academic lawyer Justin Borg Barthet: “The Shift asks tough questions of Malta’s public-private governance, digs deep for answers, and stands by its truths when threatened by power.”
We also held our ground when the Speaker of the House, Anglu Farrugia, recently demanded that we change the content in our story on disinformation on 17 Black following a complaint by Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield. Again, we declined, outlining to the Speaker the reasons on which our decision was based.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), one of the world’s leading press freedom organisations, praised the stand we took in defence of press freedom, condemning attempts to censor us.
On our one year anniversary, RSF said: “We are proud to stand with The Shift in their courageous pursuit of public interest investigative reporting that others don’t dare touch in Malta”.
Over the past year, The Shift News has shown it will not be silenced. With your support, we have defended press freedom, we have called for justice for assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and we have dug deep to expose what the government wants buried.
PEN International said of The Shift’s first year: “Since its establishment, The Shift has been an exceptional source of independent news and analysis in Malta and an indispensable resource for international organisations working on freedom of expression in the country.”
We have exposed Labour’s secret online hate machine, after a six-month investigation of those groups, we have unravelled the web of ownership behind the secret deal that gave away our public hospitals, we have exposed a massive breach of your personal data by the Lands Authority, we have shed light on sex workers in Malta hiding in plain sight.
Our disinformation series at the end of every week filters fact from fiction. We have shown how the government uses taxpayers’s money to distort the truth on a number of issues, from pinkwashing to false statistics and from Joseph Muscat’s speech at the UN to the manipulation on the damning NAO report on the scandalous power station deal.
Matthew Caruana Galizia said of The Shift: “My mother wrote that the true test of anyone’s ideals comes when they themselves are pushed to the ultimate limit. Her murder showed that her mental strength, talent and compulsion to right great wrongs exceeded the capacity of her own flesh and bones to withstand violence.
He said the time to decide what kind of a country we want to live in has come and gone: “one where people who uphold the ideals of our republic are assassinated, or one where people who want to burn our home to the ground for a bit of money are held to account.”
“We already know what the people who run The Shift are made of: thoughts, ideals, and flesh and bones. It is up to all of us to decide whether they’ll survive or not, to decide whether we want to live as savages or tame the savageness of our country. To test whether we have learned anything at all,” Caruana Galizia said.
Support The Shift, for the stories we still need to tell.