Several supporters of Bernard Grech have flagged an unfair state of play within the Nationalist Party’s media, with the PN leadership candidate being given much less coverage than the current leader Adrian Delia.
“Why isn’t Bernard Grech being given the same space on NET as Adrian Delia?” one supporter asked in a Facebook group for Grech’s supporters.
“The PN media isn’t Delia’s property and there should be a level playing field.”
One supporter argued that NET TV belongs to the PN and not a particular faction, while someone claimed the party media has been “hijacked”.
“Why is that Dr Grech is not given any airtime on NET TV and radio?” another supporter questioned. “Don’t accuse me of being negative please, this is a very pertinent question.”
“I’ve been a member for close to 40 years now and feel that the station belong to us too. We have to be respectful of everybody but that does not mean that we do not point out things which we feel are not done well. We have to be militant too, but with intelligent comments and proposals.”
Someone questioned why Delia’s recent warning of the ghettoisation of parts of Malta was given front-page coverage by the PN’s newspaper Il-Mument last Sunday, while Grech was not featured at all on the front page.
“Can we give the tesserati a chance to compare [Delia and Grech]?” he asked. “The establishment of Adrian Delia – power of incumbency.”
Another supporter took the ‘power of incumbency’ argument a step further, claiming this is why the PN recently announced it will give €2,500 to each PN każin.
“It is clear that the leadership is taking advantage of its leadership position, with non-essential press conferences, Christmas presents to każini in the middle of summer by a bankrupt Father Christmas and photos with little children paid for by the PN,” he said. “That is why the media and other activities should be controlled by the Electoral Commission.”
Other supporters took a different view of things, with some arguing that it is unfair to expect the PN to change its media strategy when the leadership campaign has not yet officially started.
“Please be aware that until there is officially a leadership election, the party must continue to function under the current leadership and this should be respected,” PN activist David Griscti, a vocal critic of Delia, said.
“Of course one expects the leadership to respect the current circumstances too. My suggestion is to stay the course, remain calm and focus on the objective. No change is easy, it never was.”
“Please stop bitching about these stupid things,” another PN supporter urged everyone. “Adrian is still our leader so of course he’s not going to let anyone who is fighting for his job get publicity So please stop the hate so maybe they can all get their shit together, so we can all go out and vote in the real election. We need to find a compromise between these two and not make another divide. Let’s be nice to each other so we can all grow together.”
Other supporters of Grech said the candidate’s popularity despite the lack of coverage by PN media bodes well for his political future, while others urged him to utilise other means of communication, such as Facebook Live videos.
“While the lack of coverage on Net TV is true, let’s be creative and use alternative means to reach out to our audience without engaging in any internal dispute,” someone said.
Lovin Malta is informed that the PN’s Electoral Commission has been informed of this issue and will discuss it in the coming days. These arguments come amidst a national discussion on whether party media, oftentimes seen as political propaganda, should continue to be allowed in Malta, when it isn’t allowed anywhere else in the rest of Europe.
Lovin Malta’s show Kaxxaturi has raised thousands to mount a court case against Malta’s party-owned TV stations, arguing that stations like One and Net go against the Constitution, the right to freedom of information, and the basic rules of fair competition.
During an interview by Lovin Malta yesterday, Prime Minister Robert Abela defended the role of party media in providing a sense of pluralism in broadcasting but said he is open to a discussion on their future.