Moviment Graffitti calls for anti-SLAPP legislation in Malta |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
08/07/2020

Moviment Graffitti calls for anti-SLAPP legislation in Malta

Freedom of information must be protected at all costs

Moviment Graffitti condemns without reservation the SLAPPs (strategic lawsuits against public participation) being threatened against five Maltese media houses who reported on the Montenegro windfarm deal that enriched private persons at the expense of the public.

These lawsuits are nothing more than vicious attempts to silence the media, and are antithetical to robust democracy. They are not meant to be won. They are an act of brute intimidation, seeking disproportionate remedies and using every trick to drive up costs. They are fought with money, not reason or rectitude.

Turab Musayev is a man with a lot to hide. He was Electrogas co-director until December 11, 2020, two weeks after another co-director, Yorgen Fenech, was arrested in relation to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. More pertinently for this matter, he is the owner of the Seychelles company that bought a Montenegro windfarm one week and sold it to Enemalta for over three times the price the next.

His name keeps popping up in the media in relation to these scandals. Musayev therefore hired a British law firm to send legal letters to Maltese media houses threatening them with a suit in British courts.

In a media landscape where publications are already fighting for survival, the thought of frequent travel to another country, engaging expensive foreign lawyers, and spending a large amount of time focusing on a single story, is often enough to make these publications withdraw the story, leaving the public clueless and uninformed.

This is in fact what happened in 2017, when the company selling Maltese passports to the super-rich, Henley & Partners, successfully SLAPPed several Maltese media houses.

This is unacceptable.

Freedom of the press and freedom of expression should never be limited by the wealth of the person being reported on. If the rich can simply threaten the media whenever a story is not to their liking, all of us are left in the dark.

Moviment Graffitti therefore joins the Institute of Maltese Journalists in calling for anti-SLAPP legislation, as already exists in many states, to be introduced without further delay.


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Il-Moviment Graffitti jitlob l-introduzzjoni ta’ legiżlazzjoni kontra s-SLAPP f’Malta
Il-libertà tal-informazzjoni għandha tiġi protetta akkost ta’ kollox

Il-Moviment Graffitti jikkundanna mingħajr riżervi l-użu ta’ kawżi SLAPP (kawżi strateġiċi kontra l-parteċipazzjoni pubblika) li bihom qed jiġu mhedda ħames organizzazzjonijiet tal-midja Maltin wara li rrapportaw fuq l-iskandlu tal-park eoliku fil-Montenegro. Dan l-iskandlu wassal sabiex individwi privati jistagħnew minn fuq dahar il-pubbliku.

Dawn il-kawżi jammontaw għal attentati vili sabiex isikktu l-midja, u jmorru kontra l-etika ta’ demokrazija b’saħħitha. Dawn il-kawżi mhumiex kawżi maħsuba biex jintrebħu, iżda huma att ta’ intimidazzjoni bla skrupli bl-għan li jinkisbu rimedji sproporzjonati filwaqt li jintużaw ħafna metodi diversi biex jogħlew l-ispejjeż legali. Dawn il-kawżi jiġu miġġielda permezz tal-flus, mhux tal-integrità jew ir-raġuni.

Turab Musayev għandu ħafna x’jaħbi. Kien kodirettur tal-Electrogas sal-11 ta’ Diċembru 2020, ġimagħtejn biss wara li kodirettur ieħor, Yorgen Fenech, ġie arrestat f’rabta mal-assassinju ta’ Daphne Caruana Galizia. Iktar minn dan, huwa s-sid tal-kumpanija tas-Seychelles li xtrat park eoliku fil-Montenegro u bigħetu lill-Enemalta għal tliet darbiet il-prezz oriġinali ġimgħa wara.

Isem Musayev spiss jidher fil-midja minħabba skandli bħal dawn. Għalhekk, hu qabbad aġenzija legali mir-Renju Unit sabiex jibgħat ittri legali lill-organizzazzjonijiet tal-midja Maltin u jheddidhom b’kawżi fil-qrati Ingliżi.

F’xenarju tal-midja fejn il-pubblikazzjonjiet diġà qed jissaraw għas-sopravvivenza tagħhom, il-ħtieġa ta’ vvjaġġar lejn pajjiż ieħor, it-tqabbid ta’ avukati barranin bi prezz għali, u l-ammont enormi ta’ ħin li jintuża fuq storja waħda spiss iġiegħlu lil dawn l-organizzazzjonijiet jirtiraw l-istejjer tagħhom. B’hekk il-pubbliku jibqa’ mingħajr informazzjoni u ħjiel dwar x’inhu għaddej.

Dan filfatt seħħ fl-2017, meta Henley & Partners, il-kumpanija li tbigħ il-passaporti Maltin lis-sinjuruni, kisbet dak li riedet bi SLAPP fuq bosta organizzazzjonijiet tal-midja Maltin.

Dan mhuwiex aċċettabbli.

Il-libertà tal-informazzjoni u tal-espressjoni qatt ma għandhom jiġu limitati mir-riżorsi finanzjarji tal-persuna li dwarha qed isir ir-rapportaġġ. Jekk is-sinjuruni jaqbdu u jheddu lill-midja meta storja jew oħra ma tinżlilhomx, il-pubbliku se jitħalla fid-dlam u mingħajr informazzjoni.

Il-Moviment Graffitti għalhekk jappoġġja t-talba tal-Istitut tal-Ġurnaliżmu Malti sabiex il-leġiżlazzjoni kontra l-kawżi SLAPP, li diġà teżisti f’bosta stati, tiġi introdotta f’pajjiżna mingħajr iktar dewmien.