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Activists want parliamentary committee to hear submissions on draft media law

A group of media activists is asking parliament to establish a select committee with the power to hear public testimony and contributions from media workers and representatives.

In a letter to the Speaker of the House, the Media Reform Initiative, composed of journalists and opinion writers, is asking that the committee be set up before parliament brings into effects any new laws or presents amendments to the existing bills on media reform.

It’s been a year since the Justice Minister tabled three bills in parliament dealing with media reforms and the protection of journalists.

One of the bills deals with constitutional changes, another deals with several amendments to ordinary laws, and the third deals with the set-up of a security committee.

However, these bills were tabled in parliament without a public consultation beforehand, despite requests from newspaper editors and journalists.

The Prime Minister eventually agreed to freeze the media protection legislation and put the onus on the Media Experts Committee, which drafted the reform, to carry out its own public consultation.

In its letter, the Initiative called on parliament to secure a wide public consultation on media reform laws, noting that the committee passed on its final report to the Prime Minister two months ago.

The letter was signed by Monique Agius, Joe Borg, Therese Comodini Cachia, Manuel Delia, Natalino Fenech.