A relevant mediascape | Carmelo Abela

While the government believes that PBS must operate with an independent editorial approach, we also believe the company’s services must appeal to, and attract artists who wish to produce new content

Our mediascape must provide content which reflects our society, inspires and entertains
Our mediascape must provide content which reflects our society, inspires and entertains

Quality is the driving force behind the Government’s recent call for public consultation on the future of the local media industry, which will in turn aid in keeping our national broadcaster relevant for today’s society.

The first step towards a pluralistic mediascape in Malta takes us back 30 years when Malta introduced legislation which helped push for competition in the local scene. By 1991, entities that wished to establish, or already had their television or radio stations, were given licences.

Even then, the Public Broadcasting Services had to adapt to this newly competitive market. It was now competing with other audio-visual stations and platforms for the country’s best creatives and audiences. PBS is also experiencing scrutiny from audience members who now have a myriad of information diverted to them.

This brings us to another critical tool: relevance. The push any production and media company must give to ensure better quality and a more efficient, professional service for its audience. This is why the Government has encouraged all local production and media moguls to come together and discuss the future of this competitive industry, and how the revised Programme Statement of Intent (PSI) for 2021-2022 can expose more talent and content.

While the government believes that PBS must operate with an independent editorial approach, we also believe the company’s services must appeal to, and attract artists who wish to produce new content. All this must be done while ensuring the company’s commercial viability.

Our mediascape must provide content which reflects our society, inspires and entertains. We now have a very good opportunity to experiment and study the wonders of television, radio and online content, and we have all the tools we need to think outside the box. Here we hope to identify new commitments broadcasters must adhere to and look into content with overseas potential. Not to mention the endless opportunities the audio-visual industry can also provide.

Naturally, online will be a crucial platform to look into here. We need to look at how production and media companies’ content can be better shared and integrated online, and eventually lead us to a more customized experience, according to our consumer’s wants and needs.

We are committed to aiding in this innovative process, hence an investment of around €30m over the next five years for the national broadcaster, with the aim to have a quality variety of content.

The government wholly believes in this industry and the priceless contribution its professionals bring to the table and is committed to providing all necessary platforms for the industry to flourish.

If you own an audio-visual station or are a production and media industry professional, I highly encourage you to join us on this exciting journey.

Our audiences deserve the best possible platform for the distribution of important information, entertainment, and of course, inspiration.

Carmelo Abela is minister within the Office of the Prime Minister

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