Times of Malta and its sister paper, The Sunday Times of Malta, have long been regarded as an institution, an appellation it richly deserves.
Since its first appearance as a daily newspaper on August 7, 1935, Times of Malta has striven to uphold the values of freedom, democracy and human rights, and has worked ceaselessly to promote Malta’s social and economic development and to ensure its security, both as a self-governing British colony and, since 1964, as an independent nation within the Commonwealth. Above all, in its mission to inform and educate, it has always sought to convey the truth, however unpalatable it may be, without fear or favour, and has made objectivity and impartiality the hallmarks of its reporting.
Only a few years after its birth, Times of Malta, led by Mabel Strickland (pictured left), the indomitable daughter of its founder, Lord Strickland, faced a life and death struggle as enemy bombs rained on Malta and famine and scarcity stalked the land. Yet the newspaper, despite severe rationing and even direct hits to its presses as a result of air raids, managed to survive and proudly never missed an issue. Indeed, its daily appearance served as a much-needed morale booster to its military garrison and beleaguered population.
Besides its respect for truth and accuracy of its reporting, Times of Malta also came to earn admiration for its tolerance, indeed its hosting of all shades of opinion, even if was itself to become, spectacularly, a victim of supreme intolerance, which had been building up for a number of years. On October 15, 1979, which was to become known as Black Monday, the newspaper’s offices and printing presses came under siege again, not from enemy bombs this time, but from a politically-motivated mob who burned the place down. Yet the indomitable spirit inherited from Miss Strickland enabled the paper to be published the next day from another printing press, thus proudly keeping up the tradition of never missing an issue.
The paper of course was to rise again, stronger – and more respected – than ever before.
As its circulation grew, despite the departure, in 1979, of British forces from the island who made up a good proportion of its readership, it became, and still remains, the foremost media company in Malta.