Another reason why government funding is distorting the free press

This is Catherine Tabone, the corrupt government culture director who has been the subject of various stories on this website.

The Sunday Circle, a publication owned by the Times, has published an interview with her over a concert she is organising with public funds.  Coincidentally, I am currently also investigating her fraudulent public expenditure on these types of concerts.

Catherine is living her fantasy of being a rich socialite, only that she is doing so from public funds. The Sunday Circle would never publish an interview with a government official unless the official’s entity is a client of the sales department. It is normal for government officials and even company directors to use their advertising expenditure as leverage for press coverage and the Times prefers outsourcing this kind of PR to its lesser publications: keep the main paper clean and throw any rubbish in the supplements. The Ministry for Culture and its entities are being clients of the press.

The Sunday Circle has been serving as a PR whore for some time now, having published interviews with Michelle Muscat, previous Planning Authority Chairman Johann Buttiġieġ, the business partner of Joseph and Michelle Muscat, Diane Izzo and even that shameless money-grabbing opportunist Ian Castaldi Paris. Things would be very different if the government didn’t advertise in the press as we would be seeing fewer of these kinds of faces.

On the other hand, Catherine outshines herself as the worst kind of person to serve as a cultural director: greedy, narcissistic and self-obsessed. You are meant to use your position and public resources to promote local artists not yourself.


  1. From the moment TOM was wrapped in a Labour poster I stopped buying TOM. I suspect many others did as TOM daily is now just six pages thick.

    • Times of Malta is a good publication with good journalists (some of whom are, according to him, Mark Camilleri’s friends), although it did go through a weird phase about ten years ago when they hired someone from the Daily Express (I believe) who tried to turn the journal into a sensationalist tabloid with garish colours, which is also when I think Allied Newspapers’ (the publishers of Times of Malta) managing director Adrian Hillman was defrauding the organisation and making backroom deals with the Labour government.

      Mark is not writing against the Times of Malta’s journalistic standards, which are, in fact, high, but about how Allied Newspapers being dependent on government advertising can undermine the good work done by the journalists. On the one hand, you have journalists uncovering corruption, doing good investigative work and fact-checking the rubbish public figures say but, on the other, you have Allied Newspapers being forced to distribute government (and other clients’) propaganda.

      Allied Newspapers tries to square the circle by siloing the propaganda in less prestigious publications than the main newspaper, or in boxes marked with the words “paid content”, but, at the end of the day, they are still (partially) doing the government’s bidding. Times of Malta is worth reading for news and analysis. However, one should always keep one’s eyes open. A discerning reader can tell the difference between a puff piece and real journalism, and also uses other sources to confirm news and learn about different perspectives.

  2. Whoa wait wait! Didn’t you flip further into the magazine?! All those genders and stunning and brave women! All those kweens pumped up and ready to bring down the patriarchy! What a brave, brave publication. I join all my fellow progressives in telling Catherine to slaaaayyyy!

  3. Well, if this loud – mouthed woman who is constantly chewing gum worse than goats grazing in a field, incessantly boasting of her knowledge in classical music, is qualified to be Malta’s cultural director, then I can be the queen of England.

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