The Department of Information aims to provide the public with up-to-date, comprehensive and meaningful information on Government policies, services and activities as well as on matters of public interest.
The first Information Office in Malta was set up by the British Government in 1939. This office functioned as the island’s war information centre until the end of World War II in 1945 when it was closed down together with the dissolution of the Ministry of Information in the U.K.
Eventually a Public Relations Office was set up and three years later it was amalgamated with the Government Tourist Bureau. In 1955 the Information office made its reappearance under the guise of the Central Office of Information reclaiming its place from the Public Relations Office. The C.O.I’s main task was to concentrate the information services that had mushroomed within the other government departments since its demise. By 1957 it had expanded in such a way that it merited the title Department of Information and Tourist Services. In a few months the information services gained their independence from the touristic ones and came to stand alone as the Department of Information we know today.
Functions of the department of information
The main function of the Department of Information is to provide a link between the Government and the public and provides the following services:
The department manages content on the Malta Government Portal (www.gov.mt), the Intranet for the Public Service and official departmental profiles/pages on social media networks.
Government Information Service
The Government Information Service provides members of the general public with information and material relevant to Government services and activities. The Government Information Service is available by means of e-mail via firstname.lastname@example.org. The Government Information Service welcomes members of the public who call in person at its Customer Care Office at 3, Castille Place, Valletta, to obtain information as well as to collect literature and other published documents relating to Government services and activities.
Media Monitoring Unit
The section monitors the most recent political, economic and social development issues, reported in the local print media. The media monitored currently consists of daily and weekly newspapers.
Media organizations are daily supplied with official Press Releases, Press coverage invitations, notices, photographic material and other information by means of instant electronic dispatch. Accreditation facilities, press arrangements as well as guidance and assistance are given to local and foreign members of the media. Arrangements are also made for local media representatives accompanying the President of Malta and the Prime Minister during official visits abroad.
The department also coordinates facilities afforded to the media during State functions, national events, the General/Local Council Elections and other events.
Extensive photo coverage is given to Government activities as well as to national events. These services ensure fast transmission of current digital photographic material to the media.
The archives house a vast collection of contemporary as well as historical photographic material which dates back to an era when DOI was practically the only information-gathering organisation on the island. A selection of archived photos can be viewed at the DOI Photo Gallery.
Since 1988, the Department of Information has been housing the Press Registry where the register of newspapers, radio and TV stations is being kept and updated in terms of the Press Act. At the Press Registry, applications for registration purposes are submitted by editors and publishers of newspapers and periodicals, and by editors of radio and television stations; and certificates requesting confirmation of editorships to be deposited as evidence in libel cases brought before the Courts of Law, are prepared and issued over the signature of the Press Registrar.
The department is responsible for the compilation and publication of the Malta Government Gazette, in its printed and electronic version. Other printed and electronic matter dealing with Government services and matters of public interest are also produced through this unit.
Publications sold at DOI include Official Government Publications, the Malta Government Gazette, Budget Speeches, Financial Estimates and Economic Surveys, Bills tabled in Parliament, Acts of Parliament, Legal Notices, Statistical reports and others miscellaneous publications. Photographs depicting a wide variety of topics such as International Meetings and Conferences held in Malta, State and Official Visits, National Festivities, National Heritage and aerial views of Malta are also available for sale to the general public, as well as DVDs produced by the department.
The department produces documentaries of national interest, such as the Maltese National Poet, Dun Karm Psaila, the Malta Railway, and the award of the George Cross. The department also provides audio-visual footage of several occasions including official visits to Malta and state events, amongst others. The restoration, digitising and archiving of historical film footage (16mm) is also a continuous process carried out by the department.