The Malta Independent must pay €3,000 to three engineers after it questioned if they used government money to go to the Formula One in Singapore, the Times of Malta reported.
The article “Government silent on WSC CEO’s Singapore Grand Prix Visit” included the subhead “Were tickets paid for with taxpayers’ money?” iMediaEthics wrote last year when the trio sued over the May 4 article.
But the engineers, Frederick Azzopardi and Stefan Riolo from Malta’s Water Services Corporation and Robert Schembri of Enemalta Corporation, paid for themselves to stay longer in Singapore and go to the race.
The Independent had asked for comment before publishing its story, and the Energy Minister’s communications coordinator responded to say that the engineers footed the bill, not the government. But, the Independent didn’t include that in its story because it didn’t realize the response to comment had been received, the Times of Malta reported, so the judge ruled the newspaper was negligent. The Independent did publish a follow-up story with the news that the engineers paid for their stay, not the government, but the newspaper “did not contain any apology nor did it specify that the replies had been received prior to the publication of the original article,” according to the Times of Malta.
The Times of Malta, by contrast, noted that it asked one of the engineers about the claims, learned the engineers paid for themselves, and didn’t run a story.
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iMediaEthics has written to representatives for the engineers and the Independent for comment.
Also this month, a Maltese blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia has to pay €3,000 to a journalist after being found to have libeled him, the Times of Malta reported. From the Times:
“The court said Ms Caruana Galizia had made several insinuations against Ms Farrugia, describing her as a ‘cow’ and a ‘bitch’ and insinuating that she was a prostitute who took off her clothes in public.
“She had also persisted in describing Ms Farrugia as the daughter of Karmenu Farrugia, who had been indicated by a court witness as the person responsible for the political killing of Raymond Caruana, when Ms Farrugia was still a young girl. Ms Caruana Galizia then made analogies between Ms Farrugia and her father, alleging that ‘at least she’s not going to use a submachine gun on me (I hope).'”