Lovin Malta Founder and CEO Christian Peregin announced yesterday that he'll be letting go of his position as the top dog at Lovin Malta to storm the political arena in an unexpected move that has already led many to their own assertions. Though the move was definitely unforeseen, it hardly comes as a surprise. The jobs of a journalist and politician overlap in more ways than one—both are in the business of effectively communicating messages, publicising information, persuading, explaining, leading and when pursued with the right intentions both are guided by a desire to change the world for the better.
Hailing from a journalistic and entrepreneurial background, Peregin is not an unlikely candidate for his new political role at the PN, following the same suit as other Maltese journalists turned political actors like Miriam Dalli, Evarist Bartolo and Caroline Muscat.
But given his outspoken criticism of the Nationalist party and the ongoing lawsuit against party media (that directly affects nationalist party owned TV station NET) which he kickstarted through a crowd-funded campaign hosted by Lovin Malta, he will find that he is now not only occupying the role of accuser for he has joined forces with the accused.
We reached out to Chris with 5 of our burning questions ahead of his move to the Nationalist Party:
How do you feel that politics will position you better to impact change rather than journalism?
Journalism is a great force for change. But it is even more impactful when there is a healthy level of competition between the political parties. I hope my move will help journalists leave more of an impact by providing them with a stronger opposition that can raise their stories to the political level.
What is your vision for a reinvigorated Nationalist Party that can realistically challenge the government?
The party definitely needs an ambitious vision but before it can do this it needs people who can forge that vision. That is why the priority is to welcome people back to the PN, including people like me who never felt part of it.
What do you think the PN’s biggest weakness is and how do you plan to address that?
The biggest weakness is internal suspicion. Without a common vision, it’s easy to see each other as liabilities rather than assets. When you agree on what you want to achieve together, it’s much easier to find common ground rather than things to disagree on. I want to change the culture by being open, empowering and mediating, but most of all, creative and imaginative in our vision.
Do you worry about how this might shift perception around Lovin Malta and whether they can still be trusted to criticise the nationalist party without fear or favour?
I have no doubt that Lovin Malta’s work will speak for itself. I never controlled what our journalists wrote so I’m not about to start now. If anything, they’re probably a bit pissed off at me for doing this so I expect they will give us a hard time, which I welcome.
Are you still committed to closing down political party TV stations and will you still be appearing on behalf of Lovin in the constitutional case?
The court case is not intended to close down the TV stations but to get a decision from the courts about the age-old debate on impartiality on TV, and ideally to trigger a process where the stations are liberated from political ownership. This is a crowdfunded court case and it will go on as planned. In my new role, I have set no conditions on the PN and they have set none on me. We are acting in good faith and I’m sure broadcasting will be one of the points of discussion as we seek to build a vision for a new Malta together. I will seek to persuade the party of my ideas and I will be open to being persuaded. Ultimately, I will respect the decisions taken by the party and its leader.
Do you think this was a good move for Chris Peregin and the Nationalist Party?