I woke up to a stream of emails this morning interrogating me about why we have not dropped everything to support Manuel Delia in his claim that he is leaving the island “for his safety”.
Press freedom and the protection of journalists is certainly our cause. But I’m always surprised that those who praise our process in getting the facts to them expect us to suddenly drop everything and support claims without question when it’s ‘their people’.
As I’ve told those who emailed or called, we don’t sink our process based on who is making the statement. We question everything and everyone, and it’s on that basis that we take a stand. And that’s what we did with Manuel Delia’s statement.
So I know that what Manuel is taking up is a temporary 6-month programme in a European city where he can continue to do his work while being paid a salary to take ‘a break’. I know this because the offer of the same programme was discussed with me.
I have benefitted from such programmes before, but never in my wildest dreams would I have sold this in the same way.
Any journalist who has faced any serious threat knows that you don’t announce your departure. And if it’s a serious threat, you certainly don’t leave your family behind.
I have spent six months with a security officer glued to my side. It was never announced because that breaches security protocols. When I’ve been taken out of the country for my protection, nobody knew. And I have no children I am leaving behind…
These are the facts: Repubblika Executive Officer and blogger Manuel Delia announced to an Italian organisation that he’s being forced to flee Malta after having received death threats aimed at himself and his family.
I called Delia to make sure I am not undermining the threats he is facing. What he mentioned is the web spoofs, which targeted other newsrooms. He also referred to a SLAPP case in chats involving Yorgen Fenech that happened years ago, even if we found out about them now when the person behind it is already in jail.
We noticed in his reply to the Italian journalist’s question about how he earns a living, Delia said he depends on the donations from his readers and gets by with the help of his wife. Nowhere did he mention that he’s an employee of Repubblika, receiving a full time salary, whatever the amount may be.
As investigative journalists exposing wrongdoing wherever it happens, we are often the targets of threats, insults, lies and defamation. These are dealt with as they happen, and we carry on with our work to the best of our abilities, undeterred by the daily onslaught. When and if those threats become serious enough to require action to be taken, we take it.
It’s damaging to the cause of truth and justice for assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia if we blow our opportunities provided to us to do our work.
Delia’s efforts in Caruana Galizia’s cause have been valuable, but indulging in this appeal to public sympathy can only deepen the mistrust towards the media, and, in consequence, towards the entire campaign for justice for Daphne.
We’ve always told you we will speak the truth, no matter who’s involved.