EP Malta office wants BA to repeal rules on European Parliament, Roberta Metsola

European Parliament Office in Malta says wording of directive on EP, Metsola reportage ‘makes a level playing field impossible’

The European Parliament Office in Malta is asking the Broadcasting Authority to repeal its regulations demanding cautious reporting on the European Parliament and Roberta Metsola.

In its letter, the office said that the singling-out of the European Parliament as an Institution and its President is unprecedented and could curtail the voices and information from the parliament.

“This is not a practice that has ever been adopted by your Authority during national election campaigns vis-a-vis the national Parliament and Malta's Speaker,” said Mario Sammut, who heads the European Parliament Office in Malta.

He said the directive could impinge on the ability of the parliament to fulfil its mandate in Malta.

“lt gives the Broadcasting Authority the power to sanction media houses that in their view report on the activities of the European Parliament and its President. This could have a chilling effect on Maltese journalists.”

On Monday 22 April, the Broadcasting Authority clarified that the aim of its directive is to keep a level playing field among the candidates contesting the European election. In no way is the directive aimed at censoring or prohibiting news reports on the parliament or its president.

But Sammut insists that the wording of the directive does not correspond to the authority’s stated intentions. “Rather it does the opposite and makes a level playing field impossible.”

“This Office would ask again for its immediate suspension and revision in order for a legal review to take place to ensure that Parliament's rights are fully respected, and that Maltese citizens remain entitled to the same information as every other European citizen.”

 “The Liaison Office of the European Parliament in Malta reiterates its call for the Broadcasting Authority to encourage media houses under its remit to enable as broad and far-reaching discussion as possible in the run up to the European Parliament elections. The European Parliament reserves its right to take further action on this matter.”

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This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The action was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament's grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information or opinions expressed in the context of this action. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the action.

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