The Independent is reporting today that Raphael Vassallo, MaltaToday’s answer to Kermit the frog, is suing Manuel Delia for libel “over an article which suggested that Vassallo may have had a hand in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia”.
Wait, what? When did that happen?
What Manuel Delia actually said was :
“416 bis also makes specific reference to omertà, a form of tacit complicity that is used to help the masterminds of mafia crimes getting away with their crimes. This is where Raphael Vassallo comes in. Unwittingly, or perhaps because he is a part of the mafia conspiracy that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia he perpetrates the myth that arresting and punishing the triggermen resolves the crime. That is how he (and others) cover up for the mafia, thereby being part of it.”Full post here
That isn’t accusing Raphael of literally being part of the conspiracy to kill Daphne. It’s accusing him of perpetrating the myth that there isn’t a Mafia problem in Malta, thereby being part of the culture or environment which allows for murders of journalists to happen.
The distinction is subtle but crucial, and obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of English.
So is Raphael Vassallo remarkably literal in his interpretation of everything he reads (which, given his woeful analysis of political matters in Malta, is credible)?
That would be deeply upsetting considering his father Prof. Vassallo is such a brilliant lecturer in literature at the University of Malta.
Or is this perhaps a perfect example of yet another vexatious lawsuit?
Interesting that this is hot on the heels of Saviour Balzan suing Ivan Camilleri for libel.
Interesting too that both come immediately after Kurt “coconut” Farrugia took umbrage at Ivan Camilleri revealing Coconut’s salary, which Manuel Delia subsequently followed up on in his own writing.
It’s almost as if MaltaToday is a manifestation of the obvious panic beginning to clutch at this administration’s heart. It’s almost as if they’ve taken it upon themselves to explicitly target journalists and writers that are critical of the government in an attempt to distract or hinder them.
When they cannot outright avoid questions, they try to shut the questioners down.