Revised December 21
Times of Malta has retracted the statement it had issued on October 31 on an incident involving a former journalist after fresh information has emerged.
Malta Today managing editor Saviour Balzan had claimed that journalist Ivan Camilleri had been confronted at a supermarket over an alleged case of shoplifting.
Mr Camilleri had vehemently denied the allegations and provided his editors and management with an explanation of what happened, which at the time was corroborated by directors of the supermarket in question.
Based on that explanation and trust in a long-standing team member, Times of Malta publicly defended Mr Camilleri. In the ensuing weeks, Times of Malta continued to investigate the allegations and discovered a contradictory version of events, which was confirmed by a number of individuals.
We have consistently said that we expect people in high office to act according to basic standards of honesty and accountability.
We must also apply this standard to ourselves, even at the pain of losing one of the company’s most experienced hands.
October 31 version:
On Wednesday, local news website Malta Today alleged that Times of Malta journalist Ivan Camilleri had been confronted at a supermarket over an alleged case of shoplifting.
Having spoken to the journalist in question as well as to two of the supermarket’s directors separately, we believe the incident in question was misconstrued by Malta Today's managing editor Saviour Balzan. We have been assured by both directors that this was nothing more than an innocent oversight at the cashier’s desk.
We stand by our journalist and will defend him and all other colleagues from personal attacks.
The two articles Mr Balzan wrote are littered with malicious innuendo and appear to have been written with the intention of misleading readers into believing that Mr Camilleri committed a crime.
We will not speculate as to why Mr Balzan chose to attack one of our journalists with such fervour, though we will note that it is not the first time that he has tried – and failed – to smear an individual using personal attacks.
It is disappointing to see the managing editor of a media house use his position to indulge in such behaviour, as it also discredits the good work many Malta Today reporters do every day.
One hopes that Mr Balzan will in future channel his energy to where it really counts, and speak truth to power.
Meanwhile, Mr Camilleri is seeking legal advice to counteract the claims.
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