NET TV will actively seek to be mature and factual when presenting news moving forwards, Opposition leader Bernard Grech has promised.
During a recent interview with Lovin Malta, Grech said he’s determined to modernise the party’s media house to ensure it gives prominence to correct news and acts maturely.
As an example, he cited his recent directive to NET not to target European Commissioner Helena Dalli after her son was sentenced to prison for handing six ecstasy pills to a friend outside a party eight years ago.
“I had the chance to take political mileage out of a story but I gave direction for this not to happen because people should come first in politics, and therefore in news. NET TV will be a station that transmits correct news.”
Asked whether the media house will seek to be impartial, Grech said it “undoubtedly” will but that it must also promote the Nationalist Party’s political positions and arguments.
“In this sense, it definitely can’t be impartial just as a football team station, such as Inter TV, Juve TV and Liverpool TV, cannot be impartial,” he said.
“They can’t be impartial because they belong to that particular football club and promote that club’s agenda. However, they won’t claim that another team is at the bottom of the league when it’s actually in mid-table.”
“News must be correct but the party’s message must be transmitted.”
Grech confirmed that the party’s 2019 policy calling for the abolishment of political party-owned TV stations once PBS has been reformed into a “fully independent” public broadcaster is still in place.
“The country has been taken over by a partisan national broadcaster, and no one out there has any doubt that PBS is not acting fairly,” he said. “In these circumstances, we definitely can’t discuss the possibility of closing down political TV stations.”
Asked how PBS can become more independent, Grech said its leadership and policies must “ensure truly unbiased and fair reporting, questioning and programming.”
“Headlines on TVM’s website constantly shout out what the government is doing or what the Prime Minister is saying, but when the Opposition says something it only remains their top story for two minutes if at all,” he said.
“It’s not only how questions are asked but about how news is presented, how news is written and what headlines are used. You know more than me that the journalism trade is very intelligent and that news can be manipulated as one sees fit. I’m making it clear that this is what’s happening at PBS.”
Lovin Malta recently filed a historic court case to determine whether propaganda on political party TV stations should be declared unconstitutional.
The court case argues that a broadcasting law approved in 1991 to permit the stations to open goes completely contrary to the demands of the Constitution.
While the Constitution obliges broadcasting to be “impartial”, the Broadcasting Act says impartiality can be monitored “as a whole” across private TV stations, essentially allowing the political propaganda aired by ONE and NET to cancel each other out.
Lovin Malta is arguing that this is the exact opposite of what the Constitution demands.
You can read all about the case on www.kaxxaturi.com.
What should the future of political party-owned TV stations be?