Freedom of the Press 2008 - Malta
|Publication Date||29 April 2008|
|Cite as||Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2008 - Malta, 29 April 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4871f61a2.html [accessed 24 April 2014]|
Legal Environment: 3 (of 30)
Political Environment: 8 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 9 (of 30)
Total Score: 20 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)
The constitution guarantees freedom of speech and of the press but also restricts these rights under a variety of circumstances. Malta bases its laws on the European model but is one of only three European Union members not to have freedom of information legislation. The Broadcasting Authority, an independent regulatory statutory body, sued an independent television station for broadcasting material that could incite racial hatred.
Several journalists were injured while covering a protest by hunters and trappers in the capital city of Valetta. The attack was the latest of a series of threats and attacks against journalists covering public demonstrations and debates in Malta. The police continue to investigate an arson attack directed against a journalist and an editor covering issues of immigration, racism and intolerance towards immigrants. The growing number of migrants seeking asylum have grown in Malta since the island became a member of the EU in 2004, making the issue a central topic for local media.
There are at least five daily and two weekly newspapers operating in both Maltese and English. Political parties, private investors, and the Catholic Church all have direct investments in broadcasting and print media that openly express partisan views. The only national television broadcaster is TVM, though the island also has access to Italian television, which many Maltese watch. Several domestic radio stations are regulated through the Broadcasting Authority of Malta. The government does not block the internet. During the year, 53 percent of households and 90 percent of schools had access to the internet.