The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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PBS is still a propaganda machine for Robert Abela – PN

Wednesday, 7 February 2024, 17:04 Last update: about 24 days ago

The national broadcaster, PBS, is still being used as a propaganda machine for Prime Minister Robert Abela, instead of delivering the full and impartial message to its viewers, the PN’s Secretary General Michael Piccinino said on Wednesday.

Speaking in front of the PBS building in Guardamangia, the entrance of which was closed, Piccinino said that under the leadership of Chairman Mark Sammut and Chief Operations Officer Charles Dalli, the national broadcaster has become a propaganda machine, which censors any message, word, phrase or criticism made against government.

Piccinino said that the PN has filed seven complaints on PBS’s failure on assuring impartial reporting, as well as a failure to balance reporting for government, and for the Opposition.

He said that a few days ago, PBS had refused to broadcast a PN’s right of reply to a statement PBS had issued, which he said was against the law.

After much back and forth, PBS then broadcast the PN’s right of reply in a way they wanted, rather than the original version, Piccinino said.

He also said that PBS also broadcast a video clip of comments from Environment Minister Miriam Dalli on the recent bill which is to introduce a Climate Action Authority in the country.

Piccinino said that the Minister was shown speaking alone, without anybody opposing or criticising her.

“It is like we are living in a country where there is only one party,” Piccinino said.

Another example he gave was that PBS did not try to interview any farmers at last week’s farmer’s protest, nor did they show any clips of farmers talking about the ways government has failed them.

“Instead, PBS showed a clip of the Prime Minister justifying what government is doing,” Piccinino said, hence, defending the government.

Piccinino said that PBS decides to be Abela’s government’s crutch, instead of delivering the whole message. It also tried to allude that the PN is making continuous “attacks” on PBS, Piccinino said.

While thanking all workers who provide this service to the public, Piccinino condemned the Chairman’s and editor’s actions, who are undermining the workers’ dedication, and leading to the national broadcaster to be reduced to propaganda and censorship, rather than national broadcasting.

He said that PBS is not “with the people,” but rather, it “fears” the people. Piccinino said that for this press conference, PBS decided to shut its doors.

Piccinino said that around €6 million in taxpayer’s money goes towards administrating PBS each year, and the Maltese public expects that broadcasting is impartial, and public officials have the obligation to listen to the public’s criticism.

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