Amidst a discussion on the state of national broadcasting, scriptwriter and podcast host Jon Mallia has urged people to realise that its days of state capture precede the current PL government.
“PBS has always been controlled, and the longer you deny this pure truth, the longer it will take to find a cure to this theft that is wounding common people on a daily basis,” Mallia wrote. “Forget about the bloody political parties.”
Mallia recounted the constant arguments he used to have with PBS’ editorial boards over the scripts he used to write for the satirical show Min Imissu.
“It was a constant battle with the editorial board about what we could or couldn’t say and what would be considered offensive,” he said. “It wasn’t an issue of quality but of which people we were allowed target in our jokes and which ones we weren’t.”
“Endless hours were wasted in arguments which had at their root censorship as a result of fear.”
He recounted how PBS had once straight out refused to air a Min Imissu episode with Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo.
He said that the episode only ended up getting published after he kicked up a storm, which resulted in then Minister Dolores Cristina getting involved at a point.
“Let’s not fool ourselves though, the programme wasn’t published because the PN was some kind of paladin of free speech,” he said. “It was published because my colleagues and I decided not to cave in.”
Mallia tagged Natalino Fenech, who was PBS head of news at the time, in his post and Fenech responded to insist parallels cannot be drawn between the current and past state of PBS.
“Everything has its limits, including satire, but I assure you that Dolores Cristina never interfered in any decisions over what content should be broadcast,” Fenech said.
“The editorial board had its own opinions as does everyone has. Not everyone has the same values but someone must make a decision.”
“You’re confusing satire with what is going on right now and has been in recent years, and I think we must be living on two different planets.”
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