lundi, avril 03, 2006


We've all heard about Hogan's disdain at the Mintoff libel award and about Hogan's conspiracy theory that libel awards are there to put Maltatoday out of business. So he started a Libel Fund. A libel fund where you pay money into a bank account at the Bank of Valletta (the number is the title of today's post) and in return any punishment for Salvu's Sullied Salvos will be guaranteed a slush fund of running cash, thus allowing Hogan's indiscriminate name-dropping to continue unhindered along with shoddy "opinionating". A bit like j'accuse with the cash thrown in to boot.

But. And there is always a but, isn't there? A quick look through past opinionating sessions decked out in Salvu's Inimitable Style unearths a few gems which cannot be ignored:

19th February 2006:
In a central interview in our paper this morning Dr Josie Muscat lets known that in his opinion the two political parties are in the hands of a very few number of people. The reference is clear that big party donors are influencing party policy in crucial areas. It is time to bring these party donations out into the open. It is an open secret that big business interests are funding the two major political parties. Running their mega political organisations cannot be met simply from the collection of member’s annual fees and revenues of their commercial organisations. No one believes this and even few are prepared to take the secretary generals of both parties on their word when they say they are auto-financed. They are not and never will be.

The time has come in the name of a strengthened democracy for legislation to be enacted whereby all donations received are to be included in published party accounts and for the state to start financing up to a given established amount, the political parties. This is both acceptable and necessary in the name of our democracy. Political parties are necessary players in any democracy. Their very survival and progress will further strengthen our democracy.

The present situation is unacceptable. Major contractors and other big business exponents are funding the parties and as a result influencing and possibly dictating the policies of the parties. This claim will no doubt be denied by both parties but the evidence is all too clear. A pocketful of people, irrespective of their political allegiance, simply puts them in a politically privileged position. Colour allegiance seems to be of little concern. It is the manifestation of where blue and red meets.Publishing of donors lists is the order of the day in most European countries. All privileged positions of the political parties should be revisited.

Why are the parties excluded from the stringent data protection laws? Why are the parties given a list after the elections informing them which persons on the electoral list did not vote? Why were the parties given a broadcasting license while no more frequencies exist for private entrepreneurs? The privileged position of political parties needs to be revisited. People are far more concerned on how they are financed than on the publication of each other’s confidential documents.

Now that's a big mouthful from the Savonarola of the Persecuted Media. And I could not agree more. Donations should be public and open. Look at what is happening to Blair's government in the UK for an example. But what is good for the goose is good for the gander. A newspaper is a public organ in its own way. If we are going to be having people stuffing Salvo's purse for him to continue shooting from the hip in his favourite fashion then I guess we the readers are also entitled to know whether or not his latest vitriolic attack on the next anointed victim is inspired by a dough dealer who satisfactorily satiated Salvo's libel needs.

Unfortunately there is no sign of transparency from Vjal ir-Rihan, rather, the libel fund page guarantees two things: (a) acknowledgement of the donation (a receipt) and (b) confidentiality. Lovely Saviour.

Now let me see. How should I put it. Practice what you preach? People in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones? Never look a gift horse in the mouth - just list his name publicly!

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