Cover photo: Jason Micallef, left, and Peppi Azzopardi, right
Valletta 2018 Chairman Jason Micallef has publicly attacked Peppi Azzopardi, the host of TVM’s Xarabank, in a scathing Facebook post. Calling the show “tired and out of ideas”, he went on to question how the “divisive” show was still on the air.
“When all sense of dignity is lost: I’ve kept back from commenting on this case due to a number of reasons, among them the sensitivity of the case from various angles,” Micallef said in his status.
“However, in this tiny country we have ‘created’ a host that during L-Istrina and other marathons he poses as the white knight of the downtrodden with his inimitable acting, insisting on making us believe that the Friday night slot on the national broadcaster was left to him by his grandfather,” he continued. “Now, in the most rude and arrogant way, he tries to create a debate of the most divisive kind on a case that until a few months ago shocked the country, and it has become unacceptable.”
He went on to call Peppi’s words a “marketing stunt” that embarrassed the public broadcasting authority
“I find it appalling how PBS’ administration allows this presenter to embarrass it in such a way, challenging and attacking a decision made by a magistrate and the court of law like it’s nothing,” Micallef continued.
Xarabank had been criticised last week after the show attempted to air an interview with Liam Debono, the teenager accused of attempting to murder Police Constable Simon Schembri. Schembri and his family had been interviewed for the show as well, but pulled out and publicly condemned Xarabank for attempting to interview both the Schembri family and Debono.
It all got to a head when Magistrate Joe Mifsud placed a gagging order on the show, not allowing Xarabank to broadcast their interview with Liam Debono. This legal action has already been criticised by leading Maltese journalists and editors.
Jason Micallef himself has previously come under fire for insensitive comments he made, including those he made that appeared to mock murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s last words.