MEP David Casa has called on the European Commission to take action on the “frivolous court cases” the government has filed against The Shift’s freedom of information requests in a letter to European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová.
Casa blasted the government for harassing the press in his letter, saying, “The frivolous court cases that have been filed in order to create hurdles for The Shift News to report information in the public interest are nothing more than an attempt to muzzle the free press and to cripple the media house financially.”
The Shift News recently won two legal battles before the Court of Appeal, but it is still facing the prospect of fending off dozens more cases. The government is launching court appeals after losing each of its 40 cases in which it is refusing to hand over public information on media expenditure before both the Information and Data Protection Commissioner as well as before the Information and Data Protection Tribunal.
Calling on the Commission to take heed of the clear and present risks to the free press, Casa added, “I commend the efforts of The Shift News to hold power to account and to keep the public informed.
“Media houses should not be left alone when government behaves badly and the European Parliament will continue to stand by The Shift News,” concluded Casa, who also co-chairs the Parliament’s Media Working Group.
Casa’s letter calling the European Commission to action follows condemnation by international press freedom groups, the Council of Europe and its Commissioner for Human Rights and a widely-backed European Parliament resolution calling on the Robert Abela administration to drop the cases forthwith.
Casa explained, “The European Parliament resolution of October 2022 condemned the action against The Shift News and yet government authorities have continued with their abusive court cases which are nothing more than another form of SLAPP.”
He also expressed incredulity at statements made by the Labour government that intended to show a newfound appreciation for media freedom. At the same time, Casa observed how the government repeatedly ignored calls to withdraw the court challenges intended to keep the public in the dark about its media expenditure.
Well done, David Casa.
When do you think LEGAL ACTION will commence and culprits will be arrested?
I am just wondering why some many people are so silent.
I wish that the P.N. has a back bone here too!
Very good indeed David. You will get my number 1 vote for the first time. And I am serious.
Why? You are not usually serious?