Updated | BA accused of ‘succumbing to pressure’ of anti-divorce lobby

Pro-divorce movement makes official complaint to BA over PBS news coverage.

Adds reaction of Moviment Zwieg bla Divorzju

Moviment IVA said the Broadcasting Authority has “succumbed to pressure” by the anti-divorce movement to reduce the number of debates it originally proposed in its scheme for broadcasts during the referendum campaign, while replacing the same time with an increase in TV spots.

“This change in the Broadcasting Authority’s scheme fits perfectly with the strategy of the anti-divorce campaign to opt for professional advertisements being prepared by well-known persons in the broadcasting field instead of debating the issue with people who can expose the shortcomings of the stances being adopted by it,” chairman Deborah Schembri said.

Meanwhile, Moviment IVA has made its first official complaint to the Broadcasting Authority in connection with what it sad was the “blatant imbalance” shown on PBS’s television news on Saturday evening, that included an item on the discussion on divorce held by AZAD in the morning.

“At the end of the item, an exponent from Zwieg Bla Divorzju was interviewed and answered questions on camera, separately from the debate that took place while representatives of the Moviment IVA were ignored.

The statement added that Muscat was disappointed an agreement was not reached between the two parties. In previous appointments such as that of the Ombudsman, the Auditor General, the Head of the Electoral Commissioner and the Commissioner for Data Protection, an agreement had been reached.

“Moviment IVA has insisted that the Broadcasting Authority should take steps to redress this imbalance and ensure that such abuses are not repeated,” Schembri said.

In a statement, the Moviment Zwieg bla Divorzju said that in the meetings with the BA, it had noted that radio and TV stations are frequently holding debates between both movements. The frequency of these debates is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

“Moviment Zwieg bla Divorzju was of the opinion that consequently the scheme proposed by the Broadcasting Authority should not just present more of the same but propose something original to engage viewers. It proposed that the Authority increases the number of minutes dedicated to information spots and information slots.

“The pro-divorce movement agreed with our proposal. The pro-divorce movement also agreed with our proposal that press conferences be introduced by a video clip,” secretary Connie Mollicone said.

Mollicone said the present scheme decided upon by the Broadcasting Authority is very similar to the one originally proposed by the Authority. “The only difference is that the 60 minutes allotted to just one of the debates will now be divided equally between the two movements who will now have 60 minutes each available for information spots and slots. There will be two debates and two press conferences.”

Former PBS chairman Anthony Tabone was appointed chairman of the BA recently, but his appointment was flagged by Opposition leader Joseph Muscat, who disagreed with the choice.

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Dejjem l-istes ucuh, pedigree tal-PN; viva ,'is-socjeta miftuha' tal-Liberali Maltin!
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Keith Goodlip
The Vatican's tentacles are spreading wide. This is the same catholic church that supported Hitler's genocide against the Jews. How can one trust an organisation like this?
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Church + Government VS the People of Malta.... The ONLY word which can make use truimph in this referendum and separate the Church from the State is the word... "YES"...for Divorce.
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BIGGER THINGS TO COME FROM MR. TABONE. HE WAS PLACED THERE WITH A PURPOSE. NEDDLESS TO MENTION IT BECAUSE IT'S VERY OBVIOUS. ONE DOES NOT NEED TO BE A GENIUS.
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Seems that he has failed his first real test. So Dr Muscat was right after all!