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PBS Demand For Two-Week Notice On Current Affairs Shows Reaches European Broadcasting Union 

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PBS’ decision to insist that all current affairs show producers obtain prior approval for the topics on their show has reached the European Broadcasting Union. 

It was revealed earlier this week that Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) CEO Mark Sammut had sent out a circular informing producers about a new requirement for them to inform PBS head of news Norma Saliba about the topics to be discussed and the guests invited on current affairs programmes. 

The memo has been criticised by many, especially in light of the fact that current affairs programmes are by their nature difficult to schedule two weeks in advance.

Repubblika has now written to the EBU about the “condemnable action”, insisting that the demand goes against free and impartial information on state broadcasters. 

“PBS does not belong to the government or the opposition. Public broadcasting is not a government notice board,” he said. 

Journalists who used to work with PBS have flagged political interference from the top, with Mark Laurence Zammit stating this was the reason he decided to step away from his popular show L-Erbgħa Fost il-Ġimgħa. 

Peppi Azzopardi has also warned that former PBS CEO Charles Dalli had unsuccessfully tried to censor a Xarabank interview with former PN leader Simon Busuttil, and suggested his resistance to this interference was the reason his show was axed last year.

Lovin Malta, through its Kaxxaturi campaign, has filed Constitutional proceedings about impartiality in broadcasting, in which it is calling on the courts to declare Proviso 13 of the Broadcasting Act, which enables party stations to bypass impartiality rules, unconstitutional.

What do you think of 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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