The Shift has received a request for a Right of Reply from Ariadne Massa of PR agency Media Insiders which refers to the “Captain Morgan” (Fortina Group) position in connection with the story published on Friday 7 August titled ‘No documents to show for €1.7 million hosting of migrants on Captain Morgan‘.
The statement reacting to the story had been sent out as a press release by Massa’s partner at the agency, Steve Mallia, on Saturday 8 August but was apparently ignored by newsrooms.
The same statement was then sent to The Shift as a Right of Reply on Sunday 9 August demanding it is uploaded as a separate story without comment or clarification and given the same prominence as the original story.
The article was about a Freedom of Information request to the government filed by The Shift’s journalist Gabriel Schembri. The reply received was that “no such documentation exists” to address the list of questions sent on the services provided by Captain Morgan and other services providers commissioned to host over 400 migrants onboard vessels when the country was in lockdown due to the first coronavirus peak.
The operation cost taxpayers €1.7 million, according to the information given to parliament by the government.
The PR agency states that their client claims that it would have been able to provide documentation, if asked. The Shift has pointed out that Fortina Group was, and remains, free to publish such documentation and this news portal would publish such information if it is deemed to be in the public interest.
As the Right of Reply received from Massa and Mallia goes beyond the statutory provisions, also given that it contains statements and innuendos that are possibly defamatory, The Shift
The Shift also points out, as it has done in its article, that the questions sent to the government did not only focus on Fortina Group but requested documentation on all other commercial entities involved in the operation.
Below is the reply sent to the PR agency: