Yorgen Fenech’s lawyer’s reported attempt to bribe a Times of Malta journalist in return for favourable news coverage is deplorable and requires “serious and urgent action”, the Nationalist Party said.
“We reiterate our continued support towards quality journalism and deplores the reported attempt of paying to influence news reporting,” PN MP Therese Comodini Cachia, also a lawyer representing Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family, said.
“The courage and determination shown by Times of Malta newsroom in exposing this attempt is to be applauded.”
“Journalists in Malta face several obstacles including threats from SLAPP and bullying. The reported attempt as well as these threats are serious and urgent action is needed to ensure that our journalists and newsrooms receive the protection they deserve.”
Yesterday, Times of Malta journalist Ivan Martin recounted how Fenech’s lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran had offered him €500 notes during a recent meeting in return for favourable coverage towards his client, who has been charged with conspiring to assassinate Caruana Galizia.
Charles Mercieca, another of Fenech’s defence lawyers, was also present in this meeting.
Caruana Curran confirmed that he offered “remuneration” to Martin in return for favourable coverage towards his client, saying the journalist “led them to understand that we could use his services to help neutralise the bias in the reporting in the media.”
Police are investigating the incident, while Jason Azzopardi, who also represents Caruana Galizia’s famiy, has called for the Commission for the Administration of Justice to take “severe steps”.
Malta’s Chamber of Advocates has called for an investigation while the Institute of Maltese Journalist also lambasted the alleged attempt at bribery.
The Labour Party described this reported attempted bribery as “a matter of grave concern and a serious attempt at undermining an important pillar of democracy”.