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‘The Government’s Gatekeeper’: Repubblika Ask PBS Why TVM Didn’t Cover Their Anti-Rosianne Cutajar Protest

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A Maltese civil society NGO has called out Malta’s public broadcasting authority after it didn’t cover their protests calling for the ousting of a government MP accused of being involved in a shady business deal.

Repubblika organised a protest against Rosianne Cutajar yesterday – since then, she has since resigned from her position as Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms, though she remains an MP.

However, though the protest, which was held in Valletta, was reported widely on multiple channels, TVM did not feature it in their evening report. Repubblika noted this in an email sent to TVM editor Norma Saliba while asking for a remedy to this omitting.

“TVM found time to, amongst other features, report on stories we had heard about before and can amount to a repetition of news that didn’t happen yesterday (such as the migration issues) or news that still has to happen, such as the building of a consulate in Libya that still needs to happen,’ they said.

“If it wanted to, PBS could have found a minute to cover our protest.”

You can find the full letter below.

The activists went on to say that Malta’s Standards and Practices for News Bulletins made it clear what “news” consisted of, and how it should be treated.

They reiterated that their protest over a public controversy shouldn’t have been ignored, and called PBS the “government’s gatekeeper, choosing news items to support the government”.

Repubblika’s letter comes as the Broadcasting Authority found TVM guilty of not being impartial just today.

PBS found that TVM failed to report about a testimony of former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in the court case against the dubious sale of three public hospitals. Following a case filed by the Nationalist Party, the Broadcasting Authority found that Muscat’s testimony was of news value and of national interest and therefore should have been reported.

Activists took to the streets of Valletta yesterday calling for Prime Minister Robert Abela to step up and take action against Parliamentary Secretary Rosianne Cutajar following revelations of relationship with Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.

“Prime Minister Robert Abela should tell us how we can be assured that Cutajar is really working for the Maltese people and not for someone involved in corruption scandals where he’s passing thousands of euros to her,” activists asked.

Last week, it was reported that Fenech handed over a total of €40,000 as part of a Mdina property deal in 2019  – €31,000 was given to Charles ‘it-Tikka’ Farrugia, who is Cutajar’s close associate, and €9,000 was given Cutajar.

Cover photo inset: continentaleurope

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Johnathan is interested in the weird, wonderful, and sometimes dark realities late capitalist society forces upon us all. He also likes food and music. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

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