How does a private crisis become a media story?

GenZ Malta media freedoms project

GenZ asks young people questions to try and secure answers about the media we need. Yet questions need to be anchored in ‘real life’ if they are to help us navigate to media solutions.

On 19th November 2021, a Times of Malta journalist recorded a disconcerting incident in Valletta on his phone. Within an hour, there was a story on the mainstream media news outlet together with the video footage. The reaction on social media was visceral with seemingly everyone wading in, including the former President of the Republic. The media that broke the story was also, in turn, accused of triggering a moral panic.

In the above video post on Instagram, Dr Alex Grech, Director of the 3CL Foundation and a University of Malta academic, reflects on how an unsavoury ‘local’ incident should also get us to think about media decisions:

How did the private turmoil of a citizen become a media story?

What responsibilities do ordinary citizens have when they have access to devices that can record and publish events in real time?

What role does social media play in circulating a media story?

What lessons can we take about the state of media freedoms in Malta?