Prime Minister Robert Abela has declined to comment on a legal challenge to declare political party TV stations unconstitutional and problems surrounding ONE’s unpublished accounts, saying the issues now lie firmly in the court’s hands.
On Sunday, Lovin Malta announced that it gave notice to the State Advocate that it will ask a civil court to decide whether a law that permits party-owned propaganda TV stations ONE and NET goes against Malta’s constitution.
A proviso in Article 13 of the Broadcasting Act enables party stations to exist on the premise that they balance each other out, even though Malta’s Constitution, the highest law in the land, clearly states that all broadcast media is as much as possible impartial.
One and NET are the exact opposite of what the Constitution demands, Lovin Malta argues.
Ironically, Abela even chastised a reporter of Net for their partisan questioning when speaking to the press outside Castille this morning.
Both parties have issued some comments. ONE Television’s Executive Chairman Jason Micallef has criticised the case, saying he’s ready to fight for his station’s “fundamental right” to continue broadcasting.
Nationalist Party general secretary Francis Zammit Dimech told Times of Malta that until there is a “proper level playing field”, the party won’t renounce their right to a TV station.
The case is a crowdfunded bid to reduce misinformation, partisan divisions and corruption. Both NET and ONE are bankrupt and have not filed their audited accounts in more than 10 years. Neither have been fined by the Malta Business Registry for failing to do so.
The last accounts filed for One Productions are in 2010. The last accounts for Net are from 2003.
Abela had pledged to address the issue of unpublished accounts when Lovin Malta first reported on the topic in June 2020.
However, he appears to have put that on the back burner, now telling this newsroom that he will leave that issue up to the courts to decide.
When it comes to PN, Deputy Leader Robert Arrigo said that the accounts “are a work in progress”.
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