Labour Party electoral campaign billboard registered as threat to press freedom

The Labour Party electoral campaign billboard featuring blogger Manuel Delia has been registered as a threat by Mapping Media Freedom, a European project that tracks threats, violations and limitations imposed on media professionals.

Delia’s image appears on a roadside billboard in a prominent location and in a Labour Party campaign video distributed online. In both the video and the billboard, his face appears with images of Opposition candidates who are contesting the upcoming election.

Delia also featured in a campaign run by the Labour Party a few days earlier that targeted the blogger as a cause of division in the Opposition Nationalist Party.

The Labour Party had used the same tactic against Daphne Caruana Galizia during its 2013 electoral campaign, including the journalist’s photograph on a campaign billboard alongside photographs of Nationalist Party politicians. This incident was noted specifically in the report of the public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Caruana Galizia’s assassination.

The campaign billboard by the Labour Party featuring Delia has been condemned by national and international press freedom organisations, including Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Article 19, PEN Malta and the Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM). They have asked for the billboard to be removed.

This latest episode is the fourth threat registered by the platform in 2022, despite assurances by Prime Minister Robert Abela to international press freedom NGOs last October about his commitment to ensuring the safety of journalists.



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