One of Malta’s most popular TV presenters has criticised the state of play within PBS, warning there is a serious lack of good quality shows and flagging the way its top management are politically appointed as problematic.
“I’m a very diplomatic person, I’m very careful with the words I say because I dont want to tread on any toes but I’ve got to a point where I’m really itching right now and I feel that the situation is very worrying and very sad,” Ben Camille said during a podcast on Trudy Kerr’s The Interviewer.
Camille said he felt hurt and worried when he found out that Mark Laurence Zammit had quit his TV show L-Erbgħa Fost il-Ġimgħa due to alleged interference by PBS in the content of his show.
He linked Zammit’s sentiments to the fact that PBS’ top management are politically appointed, which he argued makes them vulnerable to influence by the politicians who appoint them.
“If I open a company, appoint you as CEO and ask you to make a sale, what will your reaction be?” Camille asked his interviewer. “You might challenge me for a second but what if I then insist that you should put the sale out and remind you that you work for my company? It’s similar with all the PBS heads, who are politically appointed people.”
He added that this is a problem that exists irrelevant of which political party is in government.
Beyond the problems of political influence, Camille warned that several TVM shows simply don’t cut the mustard and said it is imperative for the national broadcaster to improve the quality of the shows now that competition for viewers’ attention has become so fierce.
“Recent surveys show that some TVM programmes are barely watched by 1,000 people, which is embarrassing and shocking,” he said, noting that shows like X Factor Malta have managed to pull 240,000 viewers.
“We have a very loyal following in Malta, and if a Maltese audience sees something local which they like, they will watch it… but it needs to be good quality. We live in an age where people are spoiled for choice and if they have half an hour or an hour to spend on the sofa, the show they’re watching needs to be good quality content.”
“Instead of really spreading the butter thinly, maybe try and narrow it down but focus on quality and get your best people out there, no matter their political colour or whether you personally like them or not, and work together. We can do it if we put our minds to it.”
Do you agree with Ben Camille’s assessment of PBS?