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Title: Freedom of expression, demonization and deification : continuities and disruptions in the Maltese media system
Other Titles: Media, freedom of speech, and democracy in the EU and beyond
Authors: Sammut, Carmen
Keywords: Mass media policy -- Malta
Freedom of speech -- Malta
Caruana Galizia, Daphne, 1964-2017
Politics, Practical -- Malta
Freedom of the press -- Malta
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: The S. Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies
Citation: Sammut, C. (2019). Freedom of expression, demonization and deification: continuities and disruptions in the Maltese media system. In A. Giannakopoulos (Eds.), Media, freedom of speech, and democracy in the EU and beyond (pp. 87-101). Tel Aviv: The S. Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies
Abstract: The murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in a car bomb on October 16th 2017, rocked the Maltese archipelago, situated at the heart of the Mediterranean. It also shook the international community where across the world, there are growing concerns that with the increased number of attacks on journalists, freedom of the press is atrophying. The Maltese blogger and journalist was immediately elevated to martyrdom. In Malta deification and demonization find fertile ground since these are typical tools of polarization in a scenario typified with strong party-media parallelism. This chapter argues that the case of the slain journalist reifies Hallin and Mancini’s conceptual framework (2004) of ‘pluralist polarized’ contexts where even online disrupters operate within a scenario that sustains contending political elites. The decline of political ideology within this democratic state resulted in the media retaining a crucial role in the construction and reinforcement of bipolar political distinctions. Political economic interests are here juxtaposed against a weak culture of professional and ethical journalism, which at a local level, contributed to ambivalent responses to Caruana Galizia’s death. While her political supporters and family advanced the grand narrative of anti-corruption journalism, martyrdom and government impunity that found resonance internationally, at a national level a considerable segment of media players opposed ‘trials by media’ and argued that investigations and justice need time to take their course, whereas her death did not exonerate her from the politics of divisiveness which she had amplify. Such nuanced local explanations were rarely reflected in international assessments of the case.
ISBN: 9789657440087
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacMKSMC

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