Journalists’ questions are being censored on state TV once again, the Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM) warned.
“For the second time, following a directive issued by the Malta Broadcasting Authority, the questions asked by the press were censored from broadcast on what has now become a State Broadcaster and not a National Broadcaster,” IĠM wrote in a statement.
They referred to a national press conference yesterday in which fresh COVID-19 restrictions were announced.
During question time, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne clarified certain aspects of the new measures, but the public was left in the dark because the transmission was cut short.
Malta’s national TV station is banned from broadcasting journalist questions during political press conferences unless they are medical bulletins, according to a questionable directive by the Broadcasting Authority.
This is apparently being done to respect Article 119 of the Constitution that demands due impartiality from Malta’s broadcasting.
Following a meeting with the Broadcasting Authority, the IĠM Council said it had been assured that the directive was going to be reconsidered in ‘the second phase’ of the pandemic.
This is not the first time journalists were cut off from air.
“IĠM demands immediate and concrete action from the BA. Not doing so would leave IGM no other option but to seek other remedies,” the institute said.
“On this, the third anniversary of the murder of a journalist who fought for freedom of expression, this censorship and protection of the powerful at the expense of the citizen is a slap in the face of democracy.”
What do you make of the BA’s directive?