The Malta Independent 23 February 2024, Friday
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Others were more experienced and qualified, PN MP says after two TVM reporters promoted

Sabrina Zammit Thursday, 18 January 2024, 14:10 Last update: about 2 months ago

A PN MP has said that the two people appointed as new shift leaders to be responsible for the content of the national broadcaster’s newsroom were appointed despite other applicants having more experience and qualifications.

PN spokesperson for public broadcasting Claudette Buttigieg spoke in Parliament about the appointment of TVM reporters Liam Carter and Massimo Axisa to be shift leaders within the TVM newsroom.

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Buttigieg said that the two reporters, who were chosen by the government, superseded other applicants who allegedly had more experience and were more qualified.

Without mentioning any names, she said that what worries her is the fact that one of them is currently a law student “but his most important qualification (for the role) is that he used to work with a minister in his qualification office.”

Axisa is currently studying as a law student, but he also served as a hand-picked government spokesperson with Edward Zammit Lewis when he was in Cabinet.  He also worked with the General Workers’ Union daily L-Orizzont and its weekly newspaper It-Torċa and then joined the Labour Party’s own ONE News before making the jump to TVM as a reporter.

Carter meanwhile has been at TVM since 2019, having previously worked with MediaToday.

Buttigieg said that “not only do we have two people chosen by the Prime Minister, but we are on the eve of an election. This action is only taken if you fear that the result is not going to be favourable.”

She said that if there was no fear of a non-favourable result then the road taken would have been for the government to select a substitute instead of former head of news Norma Saliba.

Saliba was appointed to head the newly set up Centre for the Maltese Language after she resigned as TVM Head of News three years into the job and following reports of clashes with the state broadcaster’s executive chairman.

Saliba is still employed by the Public Broadcasting Services but was seconded to lead the Centre of the Maltese Language, Minister for Heritage Owen Bonnici told The Malta Independent last year.

Buttigieg said that despite the PBS issuing a call for the position, with many other journalists who she said were more qualified for the job, the people with the least experience were chosen.

She said that PBS is paid for by public funds and that it is not “the government broadcasting services.”

In Parliament, the PN MP urged the government to stop abusing of the national broadcaster.

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