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frank_psaila
Frank Psaila

Shame on you, BA

Heads should roll at the BA over the Imperium Europa political spot for the European elections – but they won’t. This is European, progressive Malta if you please

frank_psaila
Frank Psaila
15 May 2014, 1:55pm
I’m waiting for heads to roll at the Broadcasting Authority, but I know I’m being naïve.

The Imperium Europa political broadcast ad makes unfounded claims on disease and criminality being linked to migration and it has been green-it by the BA.

I recall how fussy the Broadcasting Authority Board used to be, and am sure that they still are with the PN and PL about political spots: their length, when and in what format to submit them, and of course their content. Fussy to the point of being ridiculous. Not any more, it seems – or at least not where it matters

The Imperium Europa political broadcast ad is dominated by xenophobic remarks, and misinformation. In true IE style, the ad is littered with non-factual conclusions to encourage fear of the ‘Other’ knowing that that ground is fertile.

"By giving the IE ad the green light the Broadcasting Authority has unashamedly approved and therefore condoned its content. If not it would have refused to air it."
The Broadcasting Authority might argue that free speech should allow such views to be aired without restriction. Someone should tell the BA, which seems to have taken leave of its senses, that non-factual conclusions about African migrants is not ‘free speech’ but the dissemination of xenophobic propaganda which deserves nothing but condemnation.

By giving the IE ad the green light the Broadcasting Authority has unashamedly approved and therefore condoned its content. If not it would have refused to air it. The Broadcasting Authority’s weak defence is that the Police should proceed with action if the message aired was slanderous or racist. It shouldn’t have approved it in the first place. The Broadcasting Authority should be encouraging information ads that promote integration and multi-cultural education. Instead it gives IE the green light to continue with its disgusting (mis) information campaign about migration.

Only last week hundreds of women, men and children lost their lives a few kilometres from Malta’s shores. The chilling images released by the international news agencies shows hundreds of migrants’ death and others in distress waiting to be rescued after their boats capsized.

Yes, our resources are limited and we need help with to ensure the proper and just allocation of migrants around Europe. The EU needs to move towards obligatory (rather than voluntary) solidarity in the allocation of migrants in member states, and give greater assistance to the countries from where the migrants come from.

Political parties, especially government, should be putting forward proposals on how the EU can make the most of the talents, knowledge, and skills that migrants have, for their and for our benefit. The Prime Minister is right in saying that the EU lacks a common migration policy, but he should walk the walk and see that Malta has an integration policy.

I trust Simon Busuttil’s Nationalist Party will give this much-needed policy its backing.

"Perhaps this outright shocking decision by the BA is only the result of a “lie-in-the-bed-you’ve-made” attitude, thanks to the populist and unashamedly xenophobic political rhetoric."
Earlier this month, a report by a migrants’ rights organisation revealed shocking details of how many migrants were forced to ask Maltese people to hail buses for them or face being left behind by discriminatory drivers. No reaction from our local politicians – no words of condemnation; not one word muttered by our government which claims to be progressive. I’m not surprised – you don’t expect much from a government that until a few months ago was determined to push back migrants in distress and was stopped short of doing it thanks to local NGOs and the European Court of Human Rights.

And then we wonder why the Imperium Europa ad gets the Broadcasting Authority’s approval. True, the Broadcasting Authority is impartial – even though the Chairman and the CEO are appointed by the government and the main political parties have their representatives on the board; but I wonder what government’s reaction is to this shameful decision by the BA? Will Minister Manuel Mallia, responsible for Broadcasting, the Police and the Army (what an inappropriate mix of roles) speak up, please?

I wouldn’t hold my breath. Heads should roll at the BA – but they won’t. This is European, progressive Malta if you please, where the line between right and wrong is becoming, unsurprisingly thin, at times blurred, inexistent of late.

Perhaps this outright shocking decision by the BA is only the result of a “lie-in-the-bed-you’ve-made” attitude, thanks to the populist and unashamedly xenophobic political rhetoric.

frank_psaila
Frank Psaila, a lawyer by profession, anchors Iswed fuq l-Abjad on Net TV. He was formerly...
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