Front page.

NEWS | Wednesday, 25 February 2009

43 mobile phone antennas on Church properties

Despite the ongoing controversy on the possible negative health impacts from mobile phone antennas, the Archdiocese of Malta has entered into agreements with the three local mobile telephony providers to install 43 antennas on its property since 2000.
One of the most recent cases involved an antenna installed on the Safi parish priest’s house in the village square.
But the church would not reveal how much money it is receiving from mobile phone companies in return for hosting these antennas on its property.
“The agreements with the providers are subject to payment. Considering that these agreements are with commercial entities, it is not felt appropriate to unilaterally divulge certain details about them,” a spokesperson for the Archbishop’s Curia told MaltaToday.
All income derived from such agreements goes to the particular church entity involved.
MaltaToday is informed that mobile phone companies pay up to an annual sum of €1,000 for anyone willing to host an antenna.
The Curia’s spokesperson insists that the church only accepted to install the antennas after receiving assurances from the competent State authorities and the Malta Communications Authority regarding the health aspect.
Each such installation is also subject to the approval of the Curia architect who ensures that they do not affect the aesthetics or the structural integrity of the buildings.
“Like all such installations these antennae are also subject to the approval and periodical audits of the Malta Communications Authority,” the spokesperson said.
The church has not sought the advice of its own environmental commission before installing these antennas on its premises, because the first agreement with the mobile telephony companies was signed before the commission was set up.
“If and when the Curia authorities see the need to also consult the Environment Commission on the matter, over and above the assurances of the MCA, this will be done,” the spokesperson said.
The head of the Church’s environment commission said he is aware of the issue.
“We are aware that the scientific findings on this issue are sometimes conflicting in nature and not always easy to interpret,” Prof Victor Axiak said.
But he also pointed out that local authorities are following international guidelines approved by the World Health Organisation and the European Union which sets safe levels of mobile phone radiation.

Antenna crusades
In 2001, a Maltese church document said installing antennas on churches was an alternative to those places nearer to residents because they were the highest points in most towns and villages.
But over the past years antennas have also been installed on lower-lying church property.
In the past years foreign churches have become more sensitive to residents’ complaints on this issue. In 2008 mobile phone masts were banned from all churches in the French department of Ain. Guy Bagnard, the bishop of Belley-Ars, justified his decision to terminate all contracts with mobile phone companies on public health grounds.
Five years ago, Bishop Ennio Antonelli, general secretary of the Bishops Conference which groups Italy’s 200-plus Catholic dioceses, wrote to his fellow bishops in December advising them to refuse requests to install antennae on churches.



Any comments?
If you wish your comments to be published in our Letters pages please click button below.
Please write a contact number and a postal address where you may be contacted.



Download front page in pdf file format


All the interviews from Reporter on MaltaToday's YouTube channel.


Jumping on the bandwagon


Harry Vassallo

Alan Deidun for MEP

Anna Mallia

The Euro fat cats

A taste of Ebba’s sketches
Currently NUVO art & dine is exhibiting the first commemorative exhibition of Ebba von Fersen Balzan organised by her husband Saviour Balzan and Nuvo.

An honorary Maltese, a visionary artist
Artists, art critics and friends unanimously gather to remember the impact and value of Ebba von Fersen Balzan’s work and her strong connection with the Maltese islands


The Julian Manduca Award

Copyright © MediaToday Co. Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann SGN 9016, Malta, Europe
Managing editor Saviour Balzan | Tel. ++356 21382741 | Fax: ++356 21385075 | Email