One Productions and Media.Link, the media arms of the Labour Party and Nationalist Party, have still not filed audited accounts in more than a decade despite numerous promises and pledges to fall in line.
Prime Minister Robert Abela and PN leader Bernard Grech have both promised to get their affairs in order. However, it seems that some, namely Malta’s two leading political parties, are above the law and are yet to be even fined despite being flagrantly in breach of the law.
One and Net have been reported to be €10 million and €12 million in debt respectively as concerns continue to mount over both parties’ finances. One last published its accounts in 2010, but Media.Link’s accounts have been missing since 2005.
Back in 2010, the last time ONE filed its accounts, the company reported a loss of €507,479, with its total debt standing at €2,704,029. ONE’s auditors warned that the conditions cast “significant doubt” over its ability to continue, although it noted that its year-end loss had dropped by around €200,000 from the previous year.
In June 2020, Robert Abela pledged to address the issue, stating that the pandemic had occupied most of his time since his election as Prime Minister but acknowledging that this was no excuse.
The situation is even more dire for the Nationalist Party’s media house Media.Link, which last published its accounts in 2005.
Back then, the company had recorded a loss of Lm146,753 (around €341,840) and a whopping debt of €8.4 million, with a total tax expense credit of Lm450,302 (approx. €1,048,900) by the end of the year.
NET’s chief operations officer Karl Gouder told Euronews last year that this delay in account publishing partially stemmed from a major restructuring in 2013 when the media house went bankrupt. However, leader Bernard Grech promised they would be published within this year.
Neither media house has been fined by the MFSA, later the Malta Business Registry, for consistently failing to publish their accounts.
Lovin Malta’s active court case has challenged the constitutionality of a specific proviso in the Broadcasting Act which allows for party stations to be partial in reporting on news and current affairs in breach of the constitution.
A website, Kaxxaturi.com, has also been set up to explain the details of the case and why Lovin Malta decided to open it in the first place.
What do you think of the issue?