The Labour Party’s latest attempt at an English-language site seems to have been abandoned with the Journal.mt’s last article dating November 13, almost two months ago.
Launched in April 2021, the website’s express goal was to go beyond party propaganda and provide “a space where one can discuss policy, dissect complex issues and, yes, keep the government in check”.
However, following its editor, Randolph Debattista’s appointment to become Labour CEO in April, the news site has gradually come to a halt.
The Journal.mt is the PL’s second attempt at an English language current affairs website. The first venture, MaltaStar, which was once edited by former prime minister Joseph Muscat, was quietly wound down in 2017 following years of dwindling activity.
During the 2020 leadership electoral campaign to replace Muscat, then-candidate Chris Fearne said that the PL needs an English language news site to counterbalance local websites “with an agenda against us”.
Despite Fearne losing the race, the Journal.mt was launched as the Labour Party’s English language news arm the following year and Debattista placed at the helm as editor.
In an article defining the goals of the portal, he had said that Journal.mt is not meant to be a news portal but aims to present analytical insight into national issues.
The Journal.mt is “a space where one can discuss policy, dissect complex issues and, yes, keep the government in check. All of this with no sensational headlines or clickbait material,” Debattista wrote in the article.
What followed was a year of several daily articles that included headlines such as ‘[CONFIRMED] Bernard Grech is completely economically illiterate’, ‘Malta retains a high rating with a stable outlook’ and ‘Why is humility anathema for the PN?’
Issues such as abortion and euthanasia were also addressed on the site as were international affairs, often in the form of a daily roundup which were titled Global Review.
Global Review would soon come to dominate Journal.mt, with the story being the only regular daily feature until it went silent in mid-November.
Between June and November, only six articles about national affairs were published, the last one announcing the death of former prime minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, on November 5.
Sources said that the Journal.mt was never a priority for the PL.
As Debattista was re-appointed chief executive of the party, and co-opted to parliament, the Journal.mt was gradually abandoned, the sources said.
Debattista was reached for comment but he had yet to reply at the time of going to print.
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