Malta's journalism lobby has accused Economy Minister Silvio Schembri of "bullying", saying Schembri ran an edited video clip of a journalist's question prominently on social media to try and gain political mileage.
The clip posted to Schembri's social media pages begins with a NET NEWS logo, features the journalist's name and leaves out the first half of the journalist's question.
It was extracted from a remote press conference the minister held last week to announce a new funding opportunity for researchers and inventors.
The question begins at 30.24 into the video.
In a statement, the institute (IĠM) said the minister had subjected the journalist to intimidation and ridicule.
They said the clip had been pinned to the top of Schembri's Facebook page, featured in an Instagram story and been viewed thousands of times.
While politicians had every right to state their side of the story, they were obliged to reply and should never make journalists the subject of the story and single out those who were doing their jobs, the IĠM said.
"IĠM will not tolerate such actions that only instigate hatred towards journalists.
"Journalists cannot be used as bait by politicians to gain political mileage and to increase their popularity amongst the public," it said.
The IĠM added that the intentional editing of the question showed a level of disrespect towards journalists, whose duty it was to ask questions to serve the public.
“It is not acceptable to have a situation where politicians conveniently mock journalists, irrespective of the media outlet they work for, to score political points,” IĠM said.
While condemning such behaviour, IGM reiterated its call for politicians to lead by example and send a clear message that such actions were unacceptable.
Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.Support Us