PN leadership hopeful Bernard Grech is calling on the Broadcasting Authority to revoke a decision taken to censor journalists’ questions at press conferences streamed on TVM and TVM2.
“I am asking you to ensure that the authority immediately revokes the said decision.”
“The questions of journalists during a public conference addressed by any politician, most especially by a Prime Minister and government ministers, can in no way create any imbalance or impartiality in public broadcasting as all media are expected to be invited,” he said.
The decision was initially taken by the authority after a complaint filed by the Nationalist Party that the Prime Minister had taken up too much public broadcasting time to talk about political controversies during a press conference.
In response to the complaint, the Broadcasting Authority claimed that the political controversies were brought about due to questions from journalists, and thus decided to ban the streaming of journalists’ questions on TVM and TVM2.
“The decision of the Authority goes completely beyond its function as defined in the Constitution and is completely abusive,” he commented.
Grech did not mince his words when criticising the authority, saying that it has “much more serious and urgent work to do to ensure balance and impartiality in broadcasting in Malta than to abuse its position and censor questions from journalists during a press conference by the government of the day.”
“If we want to be a serious and democratic country the Prime Minister and government ministers cannot be allowed to occupy a long stretch of public broadcasting time in the most irregular and abusive manner while the same Authority makes up the excuse that this is the fault of the questions of journalists,” he wrote.
This is not the first time Grech has spoken up on media issues in the country. He recently told Lovin Malta that Malta could be better off without the “red or blue indoctrination” of party media.
The decision by the Broadcasting Authority has been heavily criticised, with the Institute of Maltese Journalists calling it “state-sponsored censorship courtesy of the Broadcasting Authority.”