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Lovin Malta’s Case Challenging Net And One’s Impartiality Will Continue As Planned

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The court case filed by Lovin Malta against the State Advocate about impartiality in broadcasting will continue as planned.

Christian Peregin’s decision to exit Lovin Malta and join the Nationalist Party will not affect the case, which was a crowdfunded initiative.

It must be noted that the court action seeks a declaration from the courts about whether the Broadcasting Act’s Proviso 13 is compatible with the Constitution’s requirement for impartiality in broadcasting. 

A proviso in Article 13 of the Broadcasting Act enables party stations to exist on the premise that they balance each other out, even though Malta’s Constitution clearly states that all broadcast media is as much as possible impartial.

One and Net are the exact opposite of what the Constitution demands, Lovin Malta argues.

Lovin Malta’s court case does not call for any TV station to close down but it argues against political ownership of TV stations, a discussion that both the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party have said they are willing to entertain.

A number of high-profile Maltese politicians have criticised the existence of party media in the past, including former Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami, who said they’ll eventually be made redundant; former President George Abela; and former Finance Minister Lino Spiteri. Former Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici even predicted that the law would be challenged in court.

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Posted by Lovin Malta on Sunday, August 2, 2020

Malta’s political party stations also face mounting financial difficulties. Media.Link, which looks after the PN’s Net Tv, had reported a loss of €341,840 and total debt of €8.4 million when it last filed accounts in 2003.

Meanwhile, One Productions reported a loss of €507,479 when it last published its accounts in 2010. Total debt stood at €2,704,029.

It’s been more than a decade since either published their accounts. Still, Media.Link and One Productions have never been fined for failing to do so as is required by regulation.

Lovin Malta is arguing that these financial difficulties also render the political parties highly vulnerable to corruption since they are dependent on big business donations.

The PN and PL have regularly been asked to explain why the accounts are yet to be published and they have failed to do so. Promises to publish the accounts continue to be unrealised, raising serious doubts over the financial structures of these two massive media organisations.

You can read all about the case on www.kaxxaturi.com.

The next sitting will be heard on 4th October, before which Judge Spiteri Bailey is expected to decide whether to allow One and Net to be parties in the case.

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Julian is the Editor at Lovin Malta with a particular interest in politics, the environment, social issues, and human interest stories.

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