ONE TV’s chairman has said the TV station is “here to stay” in reaction to Lovin Malta’s campaign to mount a constitutional court case against Malta’s party-owned TV stations.
“ONE started broadcasting 26 years ago and so long as it remains strong and followed by thousands of people on a daily basis, it is here to stay,” Jason Micallef said. “Neither you [Lovin Malta] nor anyone has a chance of closing down ONE.”
Lovin Malta’s show Kaxxaturi has raised over €7,500 to mount a court case against both ONE and NET, arguing that their political coverage goes against the Constitution, the right to freedom of information, and the basic rules of fair competition.
While the Constitution demands impartiality from news and current affairs broadcasts, party media have historically attempted to circumvent it by arguing that ONE and NET cancel each other out.
However, the Broadcasting Authority’s CEO Joanna Spiteri said in her thesis that this argument doesn’t hold water as the Constitution doesn’t distinguish between party stations and other stations.
The Nationalist Party last year proposed scrapping both political media stations as part of a widespread media reform which would see PBS transformed into a fully independent national broadcaster.
However, the Labour Party has poured cold water over this idea, arguing that a stance in favour of media pluralism should also include a defence of the political stations.
“I believe a political station should be able to restore a balance in messaging, a certain neutrality in messaging that might not be communicated in others’ messaging,” Prime Minister Robert Abela said recently.
Micallef claimed it is “ironic” that Lovin Malta wants to shut down ONE after “acting as the saviours of freedom of speech”
Political party stations are also set to receive €200,000 each in COVID-19 state aid by the end of September, way more than any other non-state owned media house.
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