PILATUS AND THE ACT OF JOURNALISTIC MARTYRISM

I think I should start off by telling the truth. The truth that I am in no way an expert on Pilatus Bank or its so called shady dealings. I, like many, know only what I have seen or heard through the news or social media. I don’t think it was that much of a surprise to anyone when yesterday the news broke that Pilatus Bank Chairman Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad was arrested in the US and charged with funnelling some $115 million through the US banking system.

It looks like Pilatus bank has been involved with some shady stuff for quite some time. But beyond the recent news and of course the shady history in Malta I don’t know much. I will have no sympathy should the US justice system throw the book at him/them. I am all for it. This article however is not specifically about Pilatus Bank or what has happened. This article is about something rather more concerning. While Pilatus Bank makes for interesting news, it is more the act of investigative journalism, most likely responsible for the beginning of the Pilatus downfall that becomes relevant here.

I am going to open up now and be completely honest. Like most people at the time when the tragic news came through of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, I was totally shocked and horrified. My initial instinct was to head to my computer and vent my thoughts and opinions through this blog. But after much deliberation I decided not to. There were a couple of reasons for this. First and foremost I would have felt dirty and selfish at the time had I written something. Don’t get me wrong, I did have opinions, and strong ones at that, but it would have just felt wrong to publish them at that time.

There was a family in turmoil. Sons who had a mother ripped from their lives by an act of sheer barbarism. A husband left to deal with the aftermath of such a heinous event. And a nation in shock and mourning, as one of its true soldiers in the battle for truth had fallen. I did not feel right about using the tragedy to further my own adventure in any way, shape or form. Not for readers, not for clicks, not for anything. Full stop. As for the second reason, well that will become apparent by the end of this story.

In my opinion investigative journalists are heroes. Like a soldier on the front line, rifle in hand facing the enemy and ready to put their life on the line for what they believe in. It is the ultimate act of bravery and I will always look in awe at such people who follow this path. Daphne Caruana Galizia was one of these heroes. Jan Kuciak is another. In case the latter name does not ring a bell, he was also an investigative journalist and hero. His work predominantly focused on investigative work often revolving around alleged tax fraud involving Slovakian businessmen. Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend were found dead, both shot in the head, in their home a few weeks ago. Another fallen soldier.

Again the ultimate act of bravery which has resulted in tragic demise. And it was these two incidents that have left me thinking, is it all worth it? Is the quest for truth, the battle for accountability worth the life of even one hero? Does JOURNALISTIC MARTYRISM make sense? Personally, I don’t think so. And let me explain why.

Perhaps its the ultimate pessimist in me that has led me to this conclusion. Or the fact that really and truly I find it difficult to see a scenario in which we can actually effect change. Deplorable, despicable, corrupt humans have been on this earth since most likely the beginning of mankind. And I think it will be the case for many, many hundreds or thousands of years to come. It is unfortunately an element of human nature.

The majority of us may hate it, or fear it. We may live in the hope that it is a puzzle that could one day be solved. But it is unlikely that will ever happen. Because even if you manage to expose one, five more continue to work in the shadows. It is a never ending story. It is this which has led me to believe that whilst a noble and honourable quest, I don’t believe it to be worth the loss of such a beautiful and honest life.

I must be clear, my opinions should not take anything away from the courage and sacrifice made by our journalistic heroes. They believed in the truth. They believed that all should be held to task and accountable in the eyes of the law. And they fought to the death for it. For that they will always have my utmost admiration. Unfortunately, whilst I share their belief, I gave up hope for it.

Some people may read this and call me a coward, but I prefer to see myself as a realist. When I sit at my desk writing away, in the back of my mind I am always thinking of the repercussions. To both myself and my young family. And so leads me to the conclusion of this piece and the second reason for waiting until now to write this article. Fear. The fear that my words may may one day have dire consequences, not just for me, but for my family. And that is a conundrum I face every single time I turn to the written word. It is truly so sad that in this world it must be so.

 

“Only the dead have seen the end of war”

Plato

 

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  1. Michael

    Jan Kuciak has brought down a corrupt government in Slovokia – that is real change. People are in the streets en-mass and there will be changes to their system because of this. It is only in Malta, somehow, that Journalists die in vain.

    1. davidoziborg

      Sorry it took a while to get to this. You make a valid point, but I don’t subscribe to this “only in Malta” thing. I am sure if you were to speak to persons from Russia, China or South Korea, they would probably tell you differently. However, still, locally it is very disappointing.

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