Labour supporters are celebrating the announcement that the party is about to unveil an English-language news portal.
The news was revealed by Labour president Ramona Attard, who shared an image of the logo of thejournal.mt which sparked a largely positive reaction.
Many congratulated the party for this move, with some saying they had missed maltastar.com a similar venture spearheaded by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat before he became an MEP, together with Kurt Farrugia, who later become Muscat’s spokesman within the Office of the Prime Minister and now serves as CEO of Malta Enterprise.
Labour’s move comes at a time when the concept of party-owned TV propaganda media is being challenged in court, in a crowdfunded case filed by Lovin Malta. It is also happening months before an imminent election that is increasingly expected to take place after summer.
It is not yet known whether thejournal.mt will be owned by One Productions which is currently run by controversial chairman Jason Micallef or whether this would be run separately from One.com.mt.
It is also not known whether the website will be applying for Covid media support, a Malta Enterprise scheme which has not yet been transparent about its beneficiaries. The scheme allows online portals to get €5,000 per month as long as they employ four journalists, and originally also included an additional €5,000 in government advertising.
Support is higher for newspapers and even higher for TV stations. It is currently being used to give a monthly injection of €90,000 each to One TV and Net TV, despite the fact that both companies have failed to publish their accounts in 10 and 17 years respectively.
It is also unclear whether thejournal.mt will be mostly funded by government advertising, which is under more scrutiny than ever, with ministers being cautioned against using taxpayer money for personal promotion and of buying advertising in a discriminatory way to use it as a carrot and a stick.
Are you looking forward to thejournal.mt?