Malta’s Broadcasting Authority’s insistence of censoring journalists on state television has not gone unnoticed, with the Institute of Maltese Journalists issuing a stern warning that it is failing to take politicians to task over politically-charged statements.
“It is a journalist’s job to ask questions. This is a fundamental right, also known as Freedom of Expression. It is a politician’s job to answer. It is called transparency and accountability,” the IGM said.
The BA landed itself in hot water after deciding to ban the streaming of journalists’ questions on TVM and TVM2, insisting that political comments made by Malta’s Prime Minister were the result of unforeseen questions from journalists. Despite the criticism, the BA has defended its decision.
“Instead of acknowledging and rectifying the error of judgement it made in forcing the PBS into the position of a state broadcaster, effectively providing censored material to its audience, it persists on blaming journalists for their questions.”
“Instead of helping the public, the BA chose to censor those who speak for the public, the journalists and their work rather than taking the politicians to task for not losing an opportunity to introduce political controversy.”
“The decision by the BA flies in the face of impartiality since it is unbalanced in favour of the powerful…and is a gross disservice to democracy and to the people the Broadcasting Authority purports to serve.”
“It is high time this institution makes acquaintance with the 21st century,” the IGM said.
When it came to the case itself, the IGM noted that in this particular case, the Prime Minister was door-stepped by a journalist after the press conference because his office had failed to answer several questions.
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