The Times of Malta has said it will be pursuing legal action against one of its former journalists, Ivan Camilleri, following a judicial protest he filed yesterday on unfair dismissal and saying his statements to the media were “untrue and libellous”.
On Thursday, Camilleri filed a judicial protest claiming wrongful dismissal and seeking compensation after he was fired in December. The newspaper pointed to assertions made in his statement that he was dismissed after “resisting, mostly alone, external and internal forces troubled with the truth”.
He also alleged that “some of the top brass at Allied Newspapers conspired and fabricated stories about me to settle what they intended to do for many years,” The Times of Malta said, adding they had no basis in fact and were a complete figment of Camilleri’s imagination.
Camilleri also pointed to fabricated stories by Malta Today chief Saviour Balzan on the journalist tipping off the suspected mastermind of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination – Yorgen Fenech – that spurred accusations that led to his dismissal.
The company statement listed the following:
“Camilleri had committed several acts of gross misconduct spanning a number of years, including the leaking of sensitive information to third parties.
- In October 2019, a report published in Malta Today alleged that Camilleri had been involved in a shoplifting incident at Valyou supermarket. After the journalist denied the allegations to the management of Allied Newspapers, the company had issued a statement in support of him. However, after new evidence came to light in December, it transpired that Camilleri had not been honest about the incident, causing the company to retract the statement.
- Over the past years, there were also other cases brought to the company’s attention involving various incidents of unacceptable conduct by Camilleri in relation to his work colleagues for which he had received ample due written warnings. Several of these colleagues, past and present, are prepared to testify against Camilleri in court.”
The company added that the decision to terminate Camilleri’s employment was not taken lightly, but “was forced on Allied Newspapers due to several unacceptable acts of gross misconduct, all of which amounted to a complete betrayal of the company’s journalistic principles”.
In the judicial protest filed by Camilleri, the former Times of Malta journalist accused his former employer Allied Newspapers of unfair and wrongful dismissal, with internal correspondence reported by MaltaToday within hours after he was handed the termination letter.
The legal action taken followed a libel suit against Media Today Managing Editor Saviour Balzan over an article claiming that Camilleri had tipped off murder suspect Fenech of his impending arrest, which Camilleri said was a complete “fabrication”.