Presenter Mark Laurence Zammit has announced he will stop presenting the Wednesday discussion show 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 on Facebook today.
“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 as of tomorrow, with the plan being that he will eventually present an online format of his former show.
“I thank the team who helped me prepare my programmes and WE Media, who were the first to believe in me and give me space in which to work and grow,” he said.
“Above everything else, I thank the thousands of people who followed me every week. After only ten weeks after the programme started, a Broadcasting Authority survey confirmed L-Erbgħa Fost il-Ġimgħa was already the most popular journalism and discussion show.”
L-Erbgħa Fost il-Ġimgħa was added to TVM’s schedule last year after Xarabank, who Zammit used to work for, was axed from the national broadcaster after 23 years.
Zammit’s fellow host and mentor Peppi Azzopardi said later that he believes the show was axed because he refused to let PBS interfere in his editorial decisions, recounting an occasion when former PBS CEO Charles Dalli had unsuccessfully pressured him not to air an interview with former PN leader Simon Busuttil.
It is believed that the show will continue, but with a different host. PBS has not yet reacted to Zammit’s claims and Lovin Malta has reached out to them for comment.