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Robert Abela Says Media Have A Right To Report On Konrad Mizzi’s Illness After Jason Micallef Cries Foul 

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Prime Minister Robert Abela has defended media reports which gave details of former minister Konrad Mizzi’s illness which forced him to miss a recent parliamentary sitting.

A spokesperson for Abela told Lovin Malta that he stands by a statement he made in March that journalists have a right to scrutinise politicians’ private lives.

“The same principles apply,” he said.

Lovin Malta asked Abela for his opinion after Valletta Cultural Agency chairman Jason Micallef hit out at MaltaToday editor Matthew Vella for reporting that Mizzi had been diagnosed with peritonitis.

Micallef said the report should be condemned by “everyone who still has a shred of a soul and a heart”.

“Konrad Mizzi has a family, children and parents,” Micallef argued. “Peritonitis is a very serious condition that can be fatal if left uncured. This isn’t journalism but spite from a cruel and heartless pen.”

However, Abela is standing by a statement he made last March in reference to backlash, including by Micallef, at a Lovin Malta report that Education Minister Justyne Caruana had been hospitalised.

“I understand the sentiment among people who passed their comments, but I’ve always believed in the principle that politicians must be held to a high level of acceptable scrutiny,” Abela said back then. “I believe that’s how it should be, even for our private lives.”

“At the end of the day, people must make holistic judgments, both in terms of our public work but also what happens in our private lives, where certain aspects can reflect on each other.

“I appeal to journalists to be responsible and careful when reporting, but I believe this is already the case. However, the principle should definitely be that politicians are subject to higher levels of scrutiny. That’s how it should be and we have a duty to respond to all questions from the press, both those we like and those we don’t.”

Do you agree with the Prime Minister’s assessment? 

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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