PBS executive chairman Mark Sammut has suggested that Mark Laurence Zammit’s departure from L-Erbgħa Fost il-Ġimgħa might have stemmed from the presenter’s discomfort with the national broadcaster’s rigid regulations.
“We actually never met or had any interaction with Mark Laurence Zammit,” Sammut told Lovin Malta.
“PBS being the state station, as you may know, is bound by rigid regulations, and continuously monitored by the regulator, and all programmes must contain political correctness and balances.”
“The only logical interpretation to Mark Laurence’s reaction is maybe he wasn’t comfortable with these type of balances and regulations?”
“On the other hand, I must point out that PBS always had and still has a very good working relationship with WE media.”
Earlier today, Zammit announced his departure from L-Erbgħa Fost il-Ġimgħa due to excessive interference from PBS.
“In recent months, I faced a lot of interference from PBS which didn’t leave me free to work according to my journalistic principles, and was hindering my loyalty towards my audience,” Zammit said.
“I therefore took the decision to stop presenting this programme. My loyalty was, is and remains to the people, and not to political powers.”
“This is the hardest decision of my life, because [presenting the show] was my greatest life dream. But even the biggest dream can become a nightmare if you can’t live it in peace with your conscience.”
Zammit will now join Times of Malta, with the plan being that he will eventually present an online format of his former show.
Meanwhile, it is believed that L-Erbgħa Fost il-Ġimgħa will remain on air, produced by WE Media but presented by a different host.
The presenter’s announcement was met with a barrage of criticism, including from Opposition leader Bernard Grech, who said the PN is analysing its legal options “to stop the government seizing PBS and using it for partisan goals”.
Cover photo: Left: Mark Laurence Zammit, Right: PBS executive chairman Mark Sammut
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