Malta





Basic Data

Malta

Official Country Name: Republic of Malta
Region (Map name): Europe
Population: 391,670
Language(s): Maltese, English
Literacy rate: 88%

The Republic of Malta is an independent island state in the center of the Mediterranean Sea, with a generally literate population. A member of the Commonwealth since 1814, Malta received independence from the United Kingdom in 1964. Since then, the island has become a center for finances and freight shipment. Major resources include its large supply of limestone, its location in the sea, and its productive labor force. However, Malta imports 80 percent of its food stores, has limited water resources, and has no domestic island energy sources. The country's economy depends on foreign trade, tourism, and manufacturing (electronics and textiles, particularly). Tourism is growing; one element that encourages the growth is a population that speaks Maltese, English, and Italian. As of 2002, Malta is a candidate for membership in the European Union; in preparation many of its industries were being privatized.

The Maltese constitution and the general culture provide for freedom of the press; since 1992 the government has actively encouraged programs leading to diversification in the media.

Independent press organizations include The Press Club and Institute of Broadcasters, whose Code of Ethics requires "balance, accuracy and fairness," confidentiality of sources, fact verification, respect for individuals, and human rights shielding.

International agencies and organizations regard Malta as having a free press. For example, Press Freedom Survey 2000 by Freedom House designated Maltese press as free. The International Press Institute (IPI), based in Vienna, stated in 2000 that no violence against journalists had occurred in Malta. In 2002 World Audit awarded Malta 14/100 points. (Lower numbers are preferred: for example, the US is 11/100 and UK is 16/100.)

Media, in English, Italian, and Maltese, include newspapers, radio, and television. The two main political parties own newspapers and television and radio stations that disseminate their opposing views. Independent media are also available to the public.

The broadcast media is supervised by the governmental body, the Broadcasting Authority. Various numbers of radio stations (13-19) are reported. Approximately 255,000 households have radios. In 2002, Malta had six broadcast television stations: three government stations, one station belonging to the governing party, one station belonging to the opposition party, and one commercial station. In addition, one commercial cable network was in operation. The approximately 280,000 households with television sets receive approximately 20 stations, including not only do Maltese stations but also many stations from Italy.

In 2001, various newspapers were available: four daily newspapers, according to the Europa Yearbook (approximate combined circulation 54,000 copies per issue), six weekly newspapers, and five Sunday editions. Total newspaper circulation is approximately 145/1,000 persons.

Newspapers include The Malta Independent (English); In-Nazzjon (Maltese), reported circulation 20,000; L'Orizzont (Maltese), reported circulation 23,000; The People (English); The Times (English), reported circulation 23,000. Weekly newspapers and Sunday editions include Business Times ; Il-Gens (Maltese), reported circulation 13,000; Il-Gwida (Maltese and English), reported circulation 12,000; Kulhadd (Maltese); Lehen Is-Sewwa (Roman Catholic press), reported circulation 10,000; The Maltese Business Weekly (English); The Malta Independent on Sunday (English); Il-Mument (Maltese), reported circulation 25,000; The People on Sunday (English); The Sunday Times (English), reported a circulation of 35,000; and It-Tórca (Maltese), reported a circulation of 30,000.

Bibliography

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Factbook 2001 , 2002. Available from http://www.cia.gov/ .

Freedom House. Political Rights and Civil Liberties , 2001. Available from http://www.freedomhouse.org/ .

——. Press Freedom Survey 2000 , 2000. Available from http://freedomhouse.org/ .

IPI: Violations of Press Freedom Commonplace in Europe. In Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe. Vienna: Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 2000.

Malta Press Club and Institute of Broadcasters International Journalists' Network. Code of Ethics , 2002. Available from http://www.ijnet.org/ .

U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Reports: Malta, 1999 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices , 25February 2000. Available from http://www.state.gov/ .

World Audit. Democratic Profile , 2002. Available from http://www.worldaudit.org/ .

World Almanac and Book of Facts. Republic of Malta, 2002.

Emily Dial-Driver

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