Veteran BBC journalist John Sweeney said he was treated far more roughly when he tried to doorstep Prime Minister Joseph Muscat than when he did the same to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“When I doorstepped Vladimir Putin in Siberia, the Kremlin muscle didn’t thump me, but when I doorstepped Joseph Muscat in London, his security guards thumped me,” Sweeney told a lecture at the University of Malta. “Maybe the Kremlin should start training Muscat’s bodyguards.”
Sweeney, renowned for his investigations into the Kremlin, North Korea and the Church of Scientology, has taken a keen interest in Malta since the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia last year.
He famously carried out an interview with Muscat last January, in which he described the Maltese Prime Minister as the “Artful Dodger of Europe” and the “passport-seller-in-chief”. That interview remains the most recent one Muscat has carried out with a journalist from an independent media house, with several subsequent requests from local and foreign media houses falling on deaf ears.
Then in April, he tried to doorstep Muscat in London just as he was getting out of his car and entering a Henley & Partners event. Sweeney said he had intended to ask Muscat whether he will stand by Economy Minister Chris Cardona in light of reports from the Daphne Project that he had been sighted at a bar in the company of Alfred Degiorgio, one of the men charged with her murder.
Earlier this week, he returned to Malta to deliver a public lecture, in which he demanded Cardona come clean on the nature of his relationship with Degiorgio and denounced the government for repeatedly sweeping up tributes to Caruana Galizia from in front of the boarded-up Great Siege Monument.