There are many things that the press can trivialise for the sake of views and clicks, but trivialising Malta’s road to authoritarianism shouldn’t be it, especially when this trivialisation comes from the press itself.
Lovin Malta ran an article misquoting the young PN MP, Eve Borg Bonnello over her speech in parliament where she clearly said, quoted by Lovin Malta itself, yet with a misleading headline, that democratic governments had paved the way for fascism and authoritarianism gradually with notable examples being fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. She didn’t compare Robert Abela to Hitler.
I wouldn’t have made that reference because I know it would have been trivialised, but Eve Borg Bonnello will be prone to many more blunders due to her age and inexperience. Young people are not fit to serve as politicians, but this is not the point of this post.
Her point is that democracy may very well turn into a dictatorship or an authoritarian state and other than fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, which were both democracies before their descent into fascism, there are in history many other democracies that turned into authoritarian states such as Chile, Brazil and Nicaragua and more recently Venezuela, Turkey, and Thailand. The EU has its own little authoritarians which have been called “illiberal democracies” such as Hungary and soon also Malta. Many others lost their democratic revolutions and became authoritarian states such as Iran and recently Egypt.
In Europe, we have taken our democracy and rule of law for granted as we religiously believed in the “end of history” resulting in our unpreparedness for the recent wave of authoritarian politics in liberal democracies as fronted by Donald Trump. It’s in this atmosphere of political complacency that far-right and authoritarian figures are becoming more popular. It’s no triviality that Malta is on this road.