My side of things – By Matthew Bonanno

Here’s what Matthew Bonanno, the journalist sacked by the Times of Malta for committing the heinious crime of remarking to a student on facebook that Minister Austin Gatt was attending university the following day (something which had been well-known beforehand and was no ‘professional secret’) has to say:

My side of things – By Matthew Bonanno

by Matt Bonanno on Sunday, 09 October 2011 at 12:40

I wasn’t going to write an explanation at first, but seeing as though gossip and rumours are being fired off from all sides, I thought it would be best to have my perspective wedged somewhere in between all the bullshit. Not that I ultimately give a damn what people think; times like these make it easier to realise who is not worth your time.

Firstly, let me be the first to admit that what I did (and what I did exactly will be explained next) was spectacularly naive, and mildly unprofessional.

What I did was this: The day before the incident, I posted on Ms Abela Garrett’s wall, “Guess who’s going to be at University tomorrow.” I barely paid attention to her comment in which she told me she was going to give me a good story. So much so that I didn’t even tell my editors about it, and as a result did not attend the event, which by the way was public and not in the least bit top secret. Therefore, the whole thing was not orchestrated in any way.

If I really, intentionally wanted to orchestrate something like that, I would have messaged her privately, not joked semi-publicly on her Facebook wall. In the words of John Cleese in a Monty Python sketch, I may be an idiot but I’m no fool.

A couple of other things which need to be cleared up are:

1) I did not write the article. I was busy following George Pullicino around a valley at the time and call him as my witness.

2) It was not me who decided to portray Ms. Abela Garrett as a heroine.

I have no ill feeling towards The Times, especially my former colleagues in the newsroom. Even though I feel my sacking was harsh, I was still on probation and they were well within their rights to give me the boot. The only thing I was disappointed about was not being given the chance to explain myself or apologise, in person. I was of course asked to explain myself via email on Thursday, since I was off that day, but I kept it brief and intended to explain myself fully, in front of the editors, the next day. On Friday, after being left in the newsroom for about 2 hours, I was called to HR and told my probation was terminated with immediate effect. To be honest I didn’t give my side of things, seeing as I wasn’t asked to. I don’t beg.

Neither am I going to be bearing a grudge against the bloggers who blew the incident out of proportion. They do what they do and I should have known better than to give them fuel to fire their own agendas. And before they claim they don’t have an agenda, if Messrs. Bondi (sorry but I can’t be arsed putting the accent on the i) and Caruana Galizia were the journalists they claim to be, they would have phoned me to get my side of things before stampeding towards their own, warped conclusions. But that’s not how they work, obviously.

I will say one thing however. Caruana Galizia claims not to be on Facebook, but that makes her lifting photos, statuses etc. from the site and putting them on her blog even more morbid and stalker-like. Then again, she probably doesn’t search for them herself (if she does then she really does need to get a life) and has her minions do it for her. To these sad, miserable sycophants I say: do the rest of us a favour and stop robbing the planet of oxygen.

Actually now that I think of it I’d better remove the pictures of me French kissing a horse with a Labour flag draped over it while attending a pasta najt.

(Kidding, Daffy)

Finally, a big soppy thank you to my friends who have supported me over the past few days. I’m touched, really.

Anyway, I’ll be getting on with my life now. Over and out.

Matthew Bonanno.

Ps. I wish Maltatoday had chosen a better photo of me.


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