06 Dec 2018 Lvl. 2
Resolved
Alert created on: 09 Nov 2018 Malta

Financial Regulatory Authority Requests the Disclosure of Journalistic Sources

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
On the 2nd November 2018, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) requested in an official letter to daily newspaper Times of Malta to disclose “the source/s of the information contained” in a report on the planned takeover of the Manoel Island project. The letter was signed by the deputy head, Lorraine Vella, and the senior manager, Nathan Fenech, of the MFSA’s Securities and Markets Supervision Unit; explicitly asking the Times of Malta “to provide the authority with the source/s of the information contained in the media report”. This goes against the Maltese law: according to the Maltese Media and Defamation Act, an editor, author or publisher cannot be required to disclose the source of information unless by a “court or tribunal established by law” and only if the court or tribunal feel that such disclosure is in the interests of national security, territorial integrity, public safety or for the prevention of disorder or crime or the protection of the interest of justice. The MFSA has been asked to confirm, by not later than November 6, it would not be proceeding any further with its request, but there hasn’t been yet any reaction from their side. Previously, on October 22, the MFSA had asked Times of Malta “to provide the authority with justifications relating to the publication of the media report”.
Resolved
06 Dec 2018: On 6 December 2018, following the decision by the Malta Financial Services Authority to withdraw its request, as indicated in the authorities’ response to this alert, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be “resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.
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