Nationalist MPs and candidates have been formally instructed by the PN not to criticise and insult each other, so as to convince people the party is united ahead of the next general election.
“The more time goes by and the closer we approach the general election, the more important it is that our message is coordinated,” the PN formally told its politicians a few weeks ago.
“This means that regardless of any provocation that could occur from people who want to harm the party, we should never pass that are, or can be considered, critical, or worse derogatory, against MPs and candidates.”
“Equally, comments about the party that can in any way cast a negative shadow over it are definitely unacceptable under any circumstances.”
“The message should always be a consistent one of unity and mutual respect towards each other and the party. This principle also applies to social media posts we upload or which are uploaded in our name, as well as ‘likes’ and ‘shares on other people’s posts.”
This draconian rule will be put to the test in light of a Facebook post uploaded by MP and former PN leader Adrian Delia last night in which he heavily criticised fellow MP Jason Azzopardi.
Delia challenged Azzopardi to publish his [Delia’s] chats with Yorgen Fenech, reveal the extent of his own relationship with the Fenech family, publish his tax returns, and sue him for libel.
PN secretary-general Francis Zammit Dimech said he has no comment when asked by Lovin Malta whether the party will take action against Delia for breaching its rules forbidding candidates and MPs from criticising each other.
Besides forbidding candidates and MPs from criticising each other, the PN is also seeking to exert as much control as possible over their public communication.
MPs and candidates must forward all requests for interviews, debates and comments to the PN’s information office in advance, and the office will decide whether said requests will be accepted or rejected.
The PN’s information office will also get to decide which MPs and candidates will represent the party on TV programmes.
When speaking in public, MPs and candidates must also toe the party line on various subjects according to guidelines that will be communicated to them on a regular basis.