As a PN MP several years ago, Franco Debono was pretty vocal about the state of public broadcasting under the then Nationalist government, his clashes with some presenters becoming stuff of legend.
With the PL in government for the past eight years, Debono has now offered a brief analysis of the current state of the national broadcaster.
Interviewed on NET Live yesterday, Debono said that while he barely watches any Maltese and foreign TV, he has followed the PN’s criticism of PBS bias towards the PL government.
“If it’s true that bias exists within PBS, then it would be even more serious than the type of bias I had commented on some years ago,” he said.
Debono argued that while it’s understandable that the last PN government may have wanted to use PBS to give it a leg up at a time when it was facing problems with the electorate, it’s a different situation now the PL government is so popular.
“If surveys are giving the government such a comfortable lead and it’s still resorting to a certain bias, then it’s much more serious, in my opinion,” he said.
The Nationalist Party has repeatedly warned that PBS’ news coverage is biased in favour of the Labour Party, with Opposition Leader Bernard Grech blaming this disparity for the PN’s unpopularity in the polls.
Broadcasting Minister Carmelo Abela has dismissed these concerns, insisting yesterday that the PN’s real problem was that it didn’t have a message worthy of the state broadcaster’s time.
However, PBS faced more criticism of political interference today after ordering producers of current affairs shows to inform them of the topics of their programmes and guests they intend to interview at least 15 days in advance for final approval.
Cover photo: Left: Franco Debono interviewed on NET Live yesterday, Right: Franco Debono interviewed by Norman Vella back in 2012
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