Lovin Malta CEO and founder Christian Peregin has called out Labour Party TV ONE for giving a “false impression” about a court case initiated in an attempt to abolish political party media.
In a right of reply following an article by ONE TV on the case, Peregin clarified that Lovin Malta will be filing a case against the State for breaching the Constitution, and not against the Party stations.
In an article on Tuesday, ONE wrote that the court case is against Party stations and that Lovin Malta is being represented by lawyers Andrew Borg Cardona and/or Peter Caruana Galizia.
ONE news chairman Jason Micallef also said on Facebook that Peregin is mistaken in thinking “that he can obtain the title of local hero by ending ONE in a court case”. Micallef reiterated that Peregin “brought in BCCG, the legal firm of Borg Cardona and Caruana Galizia”. He added that the “so-called independent platform” was “fake”, adding that ONE will be “defending its fundamental right to keep broadcasting as it has done the past 30 years”.
Peregin criticised the spin by ONE, saying the case was not against the Party media stations but against the State. He also said it will be lawyers Eve Borg Costanzi and Matthew Cutajar involved in the case, self-employed professionals who “work independently” from lawyers Andrew Borg Cardona and Peter Caruana Galizia.
Borg Cardona and Caruana Galizia “were not even informed about the case and have no interest in it,” Peregin said. He also argued that Lovin Malta does not “call itself independent” but “is independent” as it has no political party affiliations.
The case, for which Lovin Malta had crowdfunded some €7,600, accuses the State of “breaching the Constitution through a provision in the law which allows for Party stations to report propaganda instead of impartial news, which is what the Constitution demands,” Peregin said.
Peregin said ONE TV and Micallef’s attempt to portray the case as being “driven by the ‘PN’s establishment is a great example of how Party stations, which are subsidised by our taxes and do not publish their accounts, are used to distort reality in a way that suits their political narrative”.
Such distortion breaches the Constitution which demands impartiality “as much as possible” in our broadcasting, he said, adding that the news item is “a perfect piece of evidence for our court case”.
In July, the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom said in a report that two major political parties operating the largest newsgroups result in pluralism in Malta being placed at “high risk”.
“It is problematic that Party media are not held to standards of fair and unbiased reporting, thus exacerbating the situation of one-sided partisanship, with damaging effects on the wider Maltese media landscape,” according to the report.