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MEP candidate claims Labour engaged in manipulative exercise

Nationalist MEP candidate Alex Perici Calascione yesterday accused the Labour Party of engaging in a clear manipulative exercise by editing a speech he had made on hunting and EU accession in order to transmit the wrong message to the public.

The clip, played during a PL activity on Sunday, was taken from a 90-minute speech made by Dr Perici Calascione, the lawyer for the hunters' federation. It was out of context and a clear breach of Labour's own code of media ethics, he told a press conference.

In the recording, Dr Perici Calascione was heard saying that one of two conclusions could be reached after reading the letters then Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami had sent to hunters before Malta's accession to the EU: that he was either mad or was taking hunters for a ride.

He pointed out that he asked Labour leader Joseph Muscat to play the entire recording so that the people would understand the true meaning of his words.

Dr Perici Calascione played a recording of parts of his speech that, he said, were left out by Dr Muscat.

In the parts he played, Dr Perici Calascione is heard explaining that Dr Fenech Adami's statement matched that of the European Commission. Malta did inform the EU that spring hunting for two species would be allowed after 2004 - there was a clear agreement, he had said.

Labour thanked Dr Perici Calascione for revealing more details about a hunters' meeting which the PL said the Nationalist Party wanted to keep hidden.

Labour accused Dr Perici Calascione of being very selective about the sound bites he aired and called on him to publish other parts including the speeches of other PN officials and that of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, who were also present during the meeting.

Dr Muscat reiterated this call during a party activity in Mtarfa last night. He said that if Dr Perici Calascione did not make the whole tape public, the PL would.

The PN replied condemning Labour's call to publish the remaining sound bites when they should have released the whole recording on Sunday.

It also challenged Labour to make public what was said in a meeting between the hunters, Dr Muscat and other Labour candidates.

On Monday, Dr Perici Calascione filed a libel suit against Dr Muscat over the clip.

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