Malta | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Malta

Malta

Freedom of the Press 2008

2008 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

20

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

8

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

9

The constitution guarantees freedom of speech and of the press but also restricts these rights under a variety of circumstances. Malta bases its laws on the European model but is one of only three European Union (EU) members not to have freedom of information legislation. The Broadcasting Authority, an independent regulatory body, fined an independent television station in 2007 for broadcasting material that could incite racial hatred.

Several journalists were injured in March 2007 while covering a protest by hunters and trappers in the capital city of Valetta. The attack was the latest in a series of threats and attacks against journalists covering public demonstrations and debates in Malta. The police continue to investigate 2006 arson attacks directed against a journalist and an editor covering issues of immigration, racism, and intolerance toward immigrants. The number of migrants seeking asylum has grown in Malta since the island became a member of the EU in 2004, making the issue a central topic for local media.

There are at least five daily and two weekly newspapers operating in both Maltese and English. Political parties, private investors, and the Catholic Church all have direct investments in broadcasting and print media that openly express partisan views. The only national television broadcaster is TVM, though the island also has access to Italian television, which many Maltese watch. Several domestic radio stations are regulated through the Broadcasting Authority. The government does not block the internet, and 53 percent of households and 90 percent of schools had access during the year.