Peppi Azzopardi, the host of popular TVM programme Xarabank, has clarified how the prisoners who appear on last Friday’s much-debated episode, which featured an interview with Kenneth Gafà, were lined up.
The daughter of Gafà’s murder victim, Caricia Sammut, has since criticised the programme for giving airtime to her mother’s killer, which many members of the public echoed.
Speaking to Lovin Malta, Peppi said he understood the some people might be hurt by airing these stories.
“If I was in her position, I would feel the same way,” Peppi said in reference in Caricia.
“We wanted to do to a programme where we let the prisoners speak,” he continued. “We need to share the stories of the prisoners as well, and describe what they are going through. However, at the end of the day, the prisoners are in prison because they’ve hurt people and themselves.”
Peppi explained how the prisoners appeared on Xarabank through an agreement with the Prison Director
“On day one I made an agreement with the Prison Director – which, respect to him, he fully accepted – that we accept whoever asks to be on the show,” said Peppi.
“What should I have done, tell them no?” he asked
“That was one of the conditions to air the show, and we both accepted it,” he continued.
“These are people who wanted to appear on Xarabank and raise their voices, and this programme offers them the platform to do so. Whether they asked us or they asked the prison, we accepted them,” he said.
He pointed out that one of Xarabank’s next episodes would be focused on the stories of victims of crimes, and said that the show regularly does entire episodes with a focus on the stories of victims, mentioning cases like that of Roger Debattista, which they had shined a spotlight on.
However, he said he empathises with anyone who was hurt by what appeared on Xarabank, no matter who they were or what the story was.
“When we do programmes focused on the victims, for example, the families of the prisoners will be hurt that we focused on them,” he said, noting how sensitive these stories were.
Peppi spoke of one victim in particular that had particularly touched him through her ability to forgive
“We one had a person on the programme, Lina Frendo – they had killed her son. Authorities never found out who did it – yet, she publicly forgave whoever killed her son, and began volunteering at prison just so maybe she would volunteer for the person who killed him,” he said.