Emanuel Cuschieri, One Radio presenter and former Labour Party president hinted at major reforms in PBS news bulletins.
Cuschieri made these claims during his weekly radio show ‘Linja Diretta’, wherein he discussed the major changes that Robert Abela proposed to implement in Malta’s national media landscape – prior to his election as party leader.
The One Radio presenter also made reference to the Prime Minister’s controversial decision to pull Xarabank off air after 23 years of weekly shows.
“Whatever Robert Abela proposes happens – it’s only a matter of time. Together with minister Carmelo Abela, he was busy collecting information, but now it’s time to make decision,” Cuschieri said.
“A program that has been running for 23 years, called Xarabank, will no longer be aired on PBS. I believe that everyone has the right to exercise their talents in this country and no one should monopolise national TV by occupying the same slot for 23 years on end.”
Xarabank host and presenter Peppi Azzopardi took to Facebook to announce the show’s cancellation earlier this week.
“Xarabank was never found guilty of imbalance, collected millions of Euro for philanthropic purposes, and won numerous honours and all the awards on televisions,” Azzopardi said in a statement.
In light of this, Cuschieri highlighted that the PBS’ news bulletins will follow suit in facing major reforms.
“Whoever thinks that I don’t know what’s going on in the PBS’ newsroom is grossly mistaken. We will await further measures and decisions so that we can ensure that the country has balanced and impartial state broadcasts.”
Earlier this week, the Broadcasting Authority (BA) came under fire for banning Malta’s national TV station (TVM) from broadcasting journalist questions during political press conferences.
The decision was allegedly done to respect Article 119 of the Constitution that demands due impartiality from Malta’s broadcasting.
This prompted the Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM) to call out the Broadcasting Authority.
“In its decision, the BA forced the public service broadcaster to censor the questions by journalists – it was even obliged to censor its own journalists”, the Institute said.
“This is a decision which beggars belief. In no democratic state is this sort of censorship acceptable.”