About

The Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM) was founded as The Malta Press Club on 3 November, 1989, following a suggestion by Joseph Brockdorff, chairman of BPC International Limited, a public relations and advertising company, who approached the editors of the local media and offered his help in the setting up of an association grouping together media practitioners.

Previous attempts to set up a journalists’ association all failed after a few months, partisan political reasons almost inevitably contributed towards their downfall.

The founding members of The Malta Press Club are: Anthony Montanaro, deceased (The Sunday Times), Charles Grech Orr (The Times), Evarist Bartolo (Il-Helsien), Felix Agius (l-orizzont), Joe A. Vella (Malta News), Mario Schiavone (in-Nazzjon), Joe Cassar (Il-Mument), Manwel Zammit (Broadcasting Malta – the precursor of PBS Ltd) and Carmel Bonello of BPC.

For the first 12 years The Malta Press Club was supported almost entirely by BPC, providing it with its premises and other financial and logistical support. In 2001  BPC decided that, once its objective of seeing a press club thriving had been achieved, it felt there was no longer a need for its 100% support and, consequently, terminated its official association with the IGM although it still enjoys retains excellent relations with the IĠM.

Fortunately, The Malta Press Club prevailed this time and it has made great progress since its inception. The Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM), as the former Press Club is known today, is officially recognised by the government and all other Maltese institutions, including the Judiciary, the Roman Catholic Church and the Commissioner of Police.

The name change to the Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM) took place in 2004 because it was felt that the Press Club’s role had changed over the years, and also to enable it to join the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) as full members.

The objective of the Institute of Maltese Journalists is to:
• provide an effective, efficient means for journalists, grouped within it, to work jointly for the development of journalism and to strengthen friendly relations and co-operation;
• provide the facilities and professional and personal services necessary for journalists to make use of every opportunity to improve their abilities and qualifications in sharing mutual experiences;
• implement measures to ensure self-regulation and self-discipline while promoting the highest moral values at all times in the carrying out of members’ professional responsibilities, always conscious of the fact that information and communication play a significant part in the personal development of each individual citizen and in the evolution of society and democracy;
• work for the journalistic profession to raise professional and educational standards, and acquire the recognition and respect it deserves, primarily as a public service, and
• protect the fundamental right to freedom of information and freedom of expression.
In order to put all this into action, one of the first decisions of the IGM was the drafting of a five-year-plan based on three objectives, namely: education, ethics and professionalisation. Progress was registered on all fronts and today the IGM works relentlessly to build on the progress achieved so far.

Over the years the IGM established contacts with other press organisations abroad. Apart from being a full member of the IFJ and the EFJ, it is a founder member of the Alliance of Independent Press Clubs of Europe, and a member of the Federation of European Press Clubs, the Federation of Mediterranean Journalists and the Washington Press Association.

One of the first activities of the IGM was the enactment of a Code of Journalistic Ethics and the setting up of a Press Ethics Commission (PEC) to deal with complaints against journalists arising from this Code. The current chairman of the PEC is Professor Giuseppe Mifsud Bonnici, Chief Justice Emeritus and ex-member of the European Court of Human Rights.

The IGM considers as its greatest achievement the changes made to the Malta Press Act. As a result of its talks with Government officials, changes were enacted to the Press Act, which today incorporates the Confidentiality of the Source, Qualified Privilege, the Right for Information and the Right of Reply.

Another important decision was the setting up of the Tumas Fenech Foundation for the Education of Journalists (FTFEG), which is made up of representatives of the Tumas Group, a leading family-owned group of companies, and officials of the IGM. This was set up as a living memory to the late Tumas Fenech, a leading entrepreneur. Its objective is to improve the level of journalism in Malta.

The FTFEG helps finance seminars/lectures and other journalistic activities organised in conjunction with the IGM, on the recommendation of the Board of Studies, which is made up of senior journalists. The IGM also works closely with the Strickland Foundation, which is the major shareholder of Allied Newspapers, a leading publishing house on the island.

The highlight of the IGM’s activities are the Malta Journalism Awards, which are held annually to encourage and give recognition to work carried out by journalists in various categories, in the print, broadcasting and electronic media. These awards are sponsored by leading Maltese companies/corporations.

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L-Istitut tal-Ġurnalisti Maltin (IĠM) ra l-ħolqien tiegħu bħala The Malta Press Club fit-3 ta’ Novembru, 1989, fuq suġġeriment ta’ Joseph Brockdorff, ċermen ta’ BPC International Limited, kumpanija tar-relazzjonijiet pubbliċi u reklamar, li kien ressaq l-idea lill-edituri tal-Media lokali waqt li offra l-għajnuna tiegħu biex tkun tista’ sseħħ l-għaqda fost dawk kollha mdaħħlin fil-Media.

Tentattivi oħra li kienu saru qabel kollha fallew wara ftit xhur. Ir-raġuni għal dan tista’ tgħid li dejjem kienet il-politika partiġġjana.

Il-membri fundaturi ta’ The Malta Press Club kienu: il-mibki Anthony Montanaro (The Sunday Times), il-mibki Charles Grech Orr (The Times), Evarist Bartolo (Il-Ħelsien), Felix Agius (L-Orizzont), Joe A. Vella (Malta News), Mario Schiavone (In-Nazzjon), Joe Cassar (Il-Mument), Manwel Zammit (Xandir Malta, llum PBS Ltd) u Carmel Bonello (BPC).

Matul l-ewwel tnax-il sena tiegħu, The Malta Press Club kellu l-appoġġ sħiħ tal-BPC, li pprovdiet post bħala ċentru kif ukoll għajnuniet finanzjarji u loġistiċi. Darba li rat jintlaħaq l-iskop ta’ Press Club ħaj u ħawtiel, fl-2001 il-BPC ħasset li kien wasal il-waqt li ma tibqax tkun ħaġa waħda mal-IĠM u għaldaqstant inħallet mis-sħubija uffiċjali tagħha miegħu, għalkemm għad għandha relazzjonijiet eċċellenti mal-IĠM.

Fortunatament, The Malta Press Club din id-darba rnexxa u kemm ilu mwaqqaf għamel progress ġmielu. L-Istitut tal-Ġurnalisti Maltin (IĠM), kif inhu magħruf illum il-Press Club, huwa rikonoxxut uffiċjalment mill-gvern u l-istituzzjonijiet Maltin l-oħra kollha, fosthom il-Ġudikatura, l-Knisja u l-Kummissarju tal-Pulizija.

Il-bidla fl-isem għal Istitut tal-Ġurnalisti Maltin (IĠM) seħħet fl-2004 meta kien beda jinħass li mal-milja taż-żmien ir-rwol tal-Press Club kien inbidel, iżda anki biex seta’ jsir membru tal-International Federation of Journalisrts (IFJ) u l-European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).

L-għanijiet tal-Istitut tal-Ġurnalisti Maltin huma:

  • Li jipprovdi mezz effettiv u effikaċi lill-ġurnalisti, magħqudin fi ħdanu, biex jaħdmu flimkien fl-iżvilupp tal-ġurnaliżmu u jsaħħu l-ħbiberija u l-koperazzjoni bejniethom;
  • Li joffri faċilitajiet u servizzi professjonali u personali meħtieġa mill-ġurnalisti biex jaħtfu kull opportunità li tgħinhom itejbu l-ħiliet u kwalifiċi tagħhom billi jaqsmu l-esperjenzi ta’ xulxin;
  • Li jwettaq miżuri ta’ awto-regolamentazzjoni u awto-dixxiplina waqt li f’kull ħin u kull waqt isostni l-ogħla valuri morali fil-qadi tad-dmirijiet professjonali tal-membri, dejjem konxju mill-fatt li l-informazzjoni u l-komunikazzjoni huma parti integrali mill-iżvilupp personali ta’ kull ċittadin u fl-evoluzzjoni tas-soċjetà u d-demokrazija;
  • Li jaħdem biex il-professjoni ġurnalistika ttejjeb il-livelli professjonali u edukattivi tagħha, u li tirbaħ ir-rikonoxximent u r-rispett li jixirqilha, l-aktar bħala servizz pubbliku; u
  • Li tħares il-jedd fundamentali tal-libertà tal-informazzjoni u tal-libertà tal-espressjoni.

Biex dan kollu jkun jista’ jsir, waħda mill-ewwel deċiżjonijiet tal-IĠM kienet il-ħolqien ta’ pjan ta’ ħames snin imsejjes fuq tliet għanijiet ewlenin: edukazzjoni, etika u professjonalità. Sar progress fuq kull wieħed minnhom u l-IĠM illum qed jaħdem bla heda sabiex dan il-progress ikompli jissaħħaħ.

Matul is-snin, l-IĠM ħa ħsieb iżid il-kuntatti tiegħu ma’ għaqdiet tal-ġurnalisti f’pajjiżi oħra. Minbarra li hu membru sħiħ tal-IFJ u l-EFJ, l-istitut huwa wkoll membru-fundatur tal-Alliance of Independent Press Clubs tal-Ewropa, u membru tal-Federation of European Press Clubs, il-Federation of Mediterranean Journalists u l-Washington Press Association.

Waħda mill-ewwel ħidmiet tal-IĠM kienet il-ħolqien ta’ Kodiċi ta’ Etika għall-Ġurnalisti u t-twaqqif tal-Kummissjoni għall-Etika fil-Ġurnaliżmu (PEC) sabiex tistħarreġ ilmenti kontra ġurnalisti skont dan il-Kodiċi u fl-ispirtu ta’ awto-regolamentazzjoni. Iċ-ċermen attwali tal-PEC huwa Dr Kevin Dingli.

L-IĠM iħoss li l-akbar kisba li għamel kien it-tibdil li sar fil-Liġi tal-Istampa. Wara taħditiet ma’ uffiċjali tal-Gvern, fil-Liġi tal-Istampa saru emendi li jaħsbu għall-kunfidenzjalità tas-sors, il-privileġġ kwalifikat, il-jedd għall-informazzjoni u l-jedd għar-risposta.

Deċiżjoni oħra importanti kienet it-twaqqif tal-Fondazzjoni Tumas Fenech għall-Edukazzjoni tal-Ġurnalisti (FTFEĠ), li hi magħmula minn rappreżentanti tat-Tumas Group, grupp ewlieni ta’ kumpaniji fi ħdan familja waħda, u uffiċjali tal-IĠM. Il-fondazzjoni twaqqfet bħala tifkira ħajja tal-mibki Tumas Fenech, imprenditur ewlieni. L-għan tagħha huwa li jitjieb il-livell tal-ġurnaliżmu f’Malta.

L-FTFEĠ tgħin fil-finanzjament ta’ seminars, taħditiet u atttivitajiet ġurnalistiċi oħra organizzati fi sħubija mal-IĠM u fuq rakkomandazzjoni tal-Bord tal-Istudji magħmul minn ġurnalisti veterani. L-IĠM jaħdem mill-qrib ukoll mal-iStrickland Foundation, li għandha l-ishma maġġoritarji fl-Allied Newspapers, dar tal-pubblikazzjoni ewlenija f’dawn il-Gżejjer.

Il-qofol tal-ħidma tal-IĠM matul is-sena huma l-Malta Journalism Awards, liema premjijiet huma maħsubin biex jinkoraġġixxu u jirrikonoxxu x-xogħol li jsir mill-ġurnalisti f’kategoriji varji fl-oqsma tal-ġurnaliżmu stampat, ix-xandir, u l-media elettronika. Dawn il-premjijiet huma sponsorjati minn fost l-aktar kumpaniji, korporazzjonijiet u entitajiet prominenti Maltin.

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