The Commissioner for Standards in Public Life has found former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in breach of ethics when he was selective in which media houses to invite for events.

George Hyzler was considering a complaint by Newsbook’s editor-in-chief Sylvana Debono. She complained that on November 22, Dr Muscat invited the media to Castille to give a statement about the investigations on the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia but Newsbook was not invited.

The commissioner concluded it would be discrimination and a breach of ethics if a minister invited some media houses but not others to press conferences or other media events.

The Prime Minister, he said, was obliged to issue invitations to all media houses. This could have been done by email in a matter of minutes. However, this obligation did not restrict a minister’s right to grant an interview or to take part in an event at the request of a particular media house.

He had reached a similar conclusion in February after Times of Malta had complained that Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi failed to inform it and, possibly, other media houses, about an event at the Malta Film Commission where he gave interviews only to One News and PBS.

The commissioner did not consider it necessary to recommend remedial action in Newsbook’s case since Dr Muscat had since resigned as Prime Minister.

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