Net and One TV, the broadcasting arms of Malta’s two main political parties, should have been fined a total of €58,000 for failing to publish audited accounts for more than a decade, but the Malta Business Registry or Malta’s Financial Services Authority never issued the fines.
The last accounts filed by Net TV’s Media.Link was in 2003/2004; the ones for One Productions was in 2010. Malta Business Registry took over as the regulator from the MFSA in 2018.
The maximum penalties for failing to submit the account are €2,329.37 annually and €46.59 per day. Therefore, if the Malta Business Registry were to intervene today and fine the two broadcasting channels accordingly, Net TV’s Media.Link would be fined €34,935 and One Productions would be fined €23,292.
In an interview with Lovin Malta, Robert Arrigo, the Deputy Leader for Party Affairs of the Nationalist party, confirmed that it’s been almost 15 years since the PN last filed proper accounts, adding that the company is struggling with massive debts in excess of €400,000.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Daniel Micallef, the recently appointed Labour Party Deputy Leader had promised to address the issue upon taking up his new tenure. However, it still remains to be seen if he intends to follow through on his promise, with One Productions accounts still not updated to this day.
Both Micallef and Arrigo insist that a future still exists for politically-owned party stations in Malta, however, it’s been the focus of recent debate whether there is any place for partisan party stations in 2020.
Recently, The Malta Chamber of Commerce took a position against TV stations being owned by political parties and donations, claiming that they “distort the democratic picture which the sector strives to portray”
This comes just days after Lovin Malta’s programme Kaxxaturi raised €6,000 in donations to file a lawsuit aimed at ending party owned stations once and for all.