The Malta Independent 19 June 2021, Saturday

PBS ordered to air feature which shows the ‘real situation’ in prison

Thursday, 10 June 2021, 17:48 Last update: about 8 days ago

The state broadcaster has been ordered to air a feature which shows that “real situation” in Malta’s prison by the Broadcasting Authority within a week.

The BA ordered the Public Broadcasting Services to engage an “independent and impartial producer” to come up with a three-minute feature about the Corradino Correctional Facility and the situation within it within a week.

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The ruling came after a complaint was instituted by Faculty for Social Wellbeing Dean Andrew Azzopardi and TV personality Peppi Azzopardi over a feature produced on the prison and aired during the programme Popolin on TVM.

They complained that the feature, which aired on 30 April, portrayed a situation which was very far from the truth, saying that the feature made it seem like “one big village” where everything was well, when it truth it was an oppressive place.

Andrew Azzopardi said that, contrary to the impression given, only 70 prisoners were learning a trade during their time in jail, while Peppi Azzopardi sadi that some of the services mentioned in the feature aren’t even offered at Corradino.

PBS editor Norma Saliba and lawyer Ishmael Psaila defended the feature, saying that the complaint was subjective and that PBS had often reported criticism directed at prison authorities as well as about deaths and suicides in prison.

The BA however ruled that the feature was skewed, presenting only one side of the story.

It also noted that while the programme’s presenter Quinton Scerri had said that the feature was one of a series of productions, no other feature about prison was broadcast after the complaint was filed.

PBS now have one week to air another feature which is this time produced by an impartial and independent person.

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