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I am getting really sick and tired of the way in which this country has a unique ability to pull me away from whatever it is I am working on because the urgency with which a particular headline screams at me means I must drop everything I’m doing to write about that instead.

Today, the emergency of the subject at hand should be immediately obvious to you from the deliberately belligerent headline of this column. In case you’re not up to speed yet, here’s the gist of it pulled directly from this Times of Malta article (my observations follow below the reproduced article):

Church radio fined heavily after presenter describes Norman Lowell as racist

RTK, the church-owned radio station, has been fined €6,410 for unjust and unfair treatment after a discussion programme presenter described Norman Lowell as xenophobic and racist and insisted he would never allow him on his programme.

Lowell is the leader of the right-wing Imperium Europa political party. In 2013 an appeals court confirmed a Magistrates’ Court judgement finding Lowell guilty of three charges of inciting racial hatred.

Presenter Andrew Azzopardi’s description of Lowell was made as he interviewed the CEO of the Broadcasting Authority, Joanna Spiteri, about the BA’s rules on fairness last October.

Azzopardi, a university professor, had questioned how the BA could order him to invite candidates such as Lowell to his programme and said he would never accept his presence, even if ordered to.

Josiah Vella, Secretary of Imperium Europa, immediately filed a complaint against Azzopardi, also complaining of breach of impartiality rules and political censorship. He argued that Azzopardi’s comments amounted to a threat against the BA.

Communications between both sides failed to reach a settlement and the matter was discussed within the Broadcasting Authority.

The BA’s CEO, Joanna Spiteri, described how she had been invited to the programme and she felt that some of the comments made breached the authority’s rules. She defined Azzopardi’s comments about refusing to allow Lowell on the programme even if ordered to by BA directive as threatening, pointing out that the same presenter had already previously breached a BA directive before the 2022 elections. 

The BA board heard all the parties in the matter, including Lowell himself, who said he was after justice, not fines.

RTK’s legal representative said that despite the presenter’s declaration, the radio station’s doors were not closed to Imperium Europa and it was not censoring the party. He pointed to instances where its representatives were invited to programmes. He also presented court judgements involving Norman Lowell.

The board in its decision said Azzopardi’s comments were not simply an opinion but a declaration and he could have made his argument without mentioning anyone. Furthermore, RTK had not distanced itself from those comments, even though it ultimately remained responsible for all content. 

The board fined RTK €1,750. It also noted that the offence had been made during the operative period of a suspended sentence for the 2022 breach of regulations when the radio station was fined €4,660 and said that this fine now also had to be paid, raising the total fine to €6,410.


One of the very first things I published on The Critical Angle project was a commentary piece which explicitly outlined this website’s anti-fascism policy. It is based on a nugget of wisdom I’d picked up and have held close to my heart ever since: the idea that we must be intolerant towards the intolerant, because the consequence of failing to do so is to succumb to the diktat of intolerant individuals. Individuals like that fascist scum, Norman Lowell, and the fawning sycophants who follow him around like maimed dogs, are a key example here.

The CEO of the Broadcasting Authority, Joanna Spiteri, should immediately resign from her role. Describing a fascist as a fascist is not a threat. Describing a racist as a racist is not a threat. Not being allowed to do so is a threat. Complacent, ignorant authorities who clearly have no understanding of what free speech should actually be like and what needs to be done to preserve its integrity are also a threat. Hate groups like Imperium Europa masquerading as legitimate political parties with legitimate goals are also a threat.

The fact that the CEO of the Broadcasting Authority of a European member state cannot distinguish between the right to describe a hatemonger as such and the right of individuals to be free of hatemongering rhetoric is shameful, dishonourable, and deserving of nothing but the lowest contempt possible.

The fact that they had the nerve to complain about breach of impartiality and political censorship is the type of self-victimisation that the far right is fond of. It is the kind of rhetoric one would expect from a bunch of self obsessed, would-be tyrants who proclaim to the world that the solution to all our problems lies in sinking migrant ships the minute we spot them on the watery horizon and pretending our own heritage isn’t the most outlandish cocktail of North African and Sicilian influences and centuries of failed attempts at grafting European skin onto our own.

What is really insane about this whole scenario is that our political situation is so bleak that this ridiculous assortment of individuals are taken very seriously by a significant chunk of the electorate when instead, they shouldn’t even be allowed to formally organise themselves as a party to begin with. In fact, a German court just banned a far-right party from securing government funding, a significant lifeline in that context.

Malta, never a haven for innovation, is following the extremely concerning trend sweeping across Europe in a year where major electoral decisions are set to be taken – an unstable lurch towards the far-right through increasingly disturbing compromises on fundamental human rights.

An analysis of the history of the far-right always shows that it rises to political prominence when our political systems are at their very lowest dredges, when the failures of basic safety nets within our societies become so apparent and extreme that the public at large begins to seriously consider extreme, aggressive ideology as more palatable. A cursory look at the wider situation in Europe as we speak reveals that the trend is in full swing all around us.

As far-right ideology continues its decades long infiltration of European politics like a dose of arsenic in our plumbing, anyone who understands the immediacy of the threat must do whatever they can to flush it out the minute it becomes apparent.

The fact that our Broadcasting Authority decided to instead increase the dosage by forcing a radio station to pay thousands of euros for justifiably refusing the presence of fascist scum in their studios clearly tells us that, as persons who are responsible for disseminating information, we will have to take our own stand and defend it to the hilt.

So, in solidarity with Andrew Azzopardi and RTK, here’s this website’s unequivocal message – Norman Lowell is a fascist hatemonger whose presence should not be tolerated on a bus stop, let alone on a radio station.

And while we’re at it – because this website’s duty is to remind the public of information that is relevant – here’s a selection from some of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s articles about Norman Lowell, the same journalist who had endured sometimes mortifying, sometimes absolutely brutal intimidation and threats at the hands of Lowell and his cronies. In his book ‘A Death in Malta’, her son, Paul Caruana Galizia, also refers to these horrifying experiences. If you haven’t read it yet, you really should.

The madman and the Moonie

Norman Lowell forbids you to give blood

Norman Lowell should sack his lawyer

Norman Lowell entertains friends at Ta’ Ċetta

How Norman’s file went missing (the screws went first)

Norman’s bananas

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