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Monday, October 24, 2005

Separate Lives

It was an interesting day today observing how Prime Minister Gonzi's visit to London was reported by the media in Malta and how it was (not) reported in the UK media. In Malta it seemed Gonzi's meeting with Tony Blair made headlines on most, if not all, media outlets. By contrast, none of the mainstream news sources in the UK reported that Malta's PM was in a joint press conference with Blair this morning...not even the BBC.

I know that the UK media has stories of higher news value than Gonzi's visit today: Blair made important announcements about the education system this morning (after seeing the Gonzi entourage off) and between hurricane Wilma and the dead parrot diagnosed with the current strand of bird flu it's little wonder that the British public cared very little to hear or read about the Maltese PM's visit to London.

I was also quite struck by the contrast in the way Blair and Gonzi addressed each other during the press conference. In his now-legendary cool Britannia style, Blair addressed Malta's PM as "Lawrence" while Gonzi keep traditional protocol and called Britain's PM by his formal titles and never "Tony" as I'm sure he did off-mic earlier while they sat in one of the many rooms in Downing Street over a nice cup of English tea.

Anyway, I'm actually writing this while I wait for the British Airways flight from New York's JFK airport on my way back to the UK. I don't know that I'd be even interested in blogging about this if it weren't for the fact that I have some time to kill as I sit here at gate 4 in terminal 7.

The two PMs acknowledged two things we already know. One is very obvious, the other not so obvious. The obvious one concerns the ever-growing problem of illegal immigration, which Blair declared needs reviewing from a legal and pragmatic perspective within the context of globalization. The other concerns the complexity of organizing an event on the scale of the CHOGM. I have a feeling that the issue of illegal immigration will be on many agendas during the CHOGM next month, both for official as well as informal encounters.

It will be interesting to see the difference between the perspective of the local media on this upcoming event and the way it is reported in countries other than Malta. If any journalists from mainstream media organizations want to pick up on this, I promise not to ask for credit for the idea...just remember you read about it here first.

Blogger Robert Micallef said...

Enjoy your flight, Ton :) 

12:09 AM, October 26, 2005

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