Information can at times be gleaned from reactions to investigative articles. It’s become almost a given that everyone, particularly if linked or involved with the Maltese government, will issue a carefully worded denial of sorts. Maybe even a threat or two. But before the slick damage limitation exercises kick in, it is inevitable that there are some knee-jerk reactions, as seen following The Shift’s publication of the Streamcast investigation.
Last Sunday, The Shift published the first part of its investigation into the Streamcast deal, something we’ve been working on for a while since first getting wind that all was not what it seemed. It outlined how Nexia BT partners secretly bought into an overhyped venture that benefited (among others) from what seems like a sweetheart deal from Enemalta and gratuitous endorsements by the Maltese government (Konrad Mizzi in particular). And then, once hyped up, chunks were sold off and Nexia BT exited.
The first to react to this story was not Nexia BT, although Brian Tonna and Karl Cini did send a ‘right of reply’, which attempted to cloud the waters but still confirmed their investment. Neither was it Enemalta, which sent comments through the former editor of Labour-leaning newspaper l-Orizzont who recently ‘transitioned’ to the public sector as Enemalta’s communications manager.
The first to react to the story was Streamcast even though it was the last to send its statement, possibly because wiping out online records about the Malta India Film Festival takes a while. Streamcast immediately deleted content on its website referring to the event, including the grinning faces of former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and Film Commissioner Engelbert Grech. The Facebook page for this event was also shut down.
They need not have bothered – The Shift already had the information.
Once they thought the clean up was complete, Streamcast sent The Shift an “official company response” claiming, among other things, that Mizzi just happened to be in Mumbai (with one of Streamcast’s founders) in August 2018 when Streamcast thought of inviting him to a press conference announcing the Malta India Film Festival.
The statement also oddly denies that Mizzi or others from the Maltese government “invested” in the Malta India Film Festival (a claim that was never made in the article on the Streamcast deal). The story included references to the ‘Malta India Film Festival’ in the context of how Streamcast, a company no one had heard of, was pushed and promoted by members of the Maltese government.
Apart from Mizzi’s participation in the event in Mumbai, another event three months later – the launch of the Malta India Film Awards – was attended by Joseph Muscat’s wife, Michelle Muscat, among others. Cini and Oliver Said from Nexia BT even delivered a 30-minute speech about incentives in Malta.
WATCH – Video of the launch of the Malta India Film Festival:
It is not clear why Streamcast felt the need to delete these articles from its website (the articles can still be read on www.mifaa.com) and then subsequently attempt to cover for Mizzi. Even more so since Streamcast’s response ignores the central claims regarding Nexia BT and glosses over the fact that Enemalta had to first build the “data centre” before being able to lease it out “as is”.
Streamcast’s “official company response” can be read here.