PN accuses PBS of being a 'propaganda machine' for the Labour Party

Nationalist Party deputy leader David Agius says the party does not exclude any action against PBS but falls short of promising its detachment from ministerial control under a PN government

PN deputy leader David Agius (left) and candidate Alessia Psaila Zammit
PN deputy leader David Agius (left) and candidate Alessia Psaila Zammit

The Nationalist Party has accused the national broadcaster of being under the direct command of Prime Minister Robert Abela and the Labour Party.

PN deputy leader David Agius said the Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) is a "propaganda machine" for the Labour Party.

He said that PBS gave its prime slots on the 8pm news bulletin to the government and PL, even if they are not newsworthy. Agius added that the reform that will see TVM2 transform into TVMnews+, a channel specifically dedicated to news, culture, sports and current affairs, is a plan to further strengthen the propaganda machine.

“Democracy requires a fair and balanced national station, as it belongs to all the Maltese,” Agius said.

He alleged that the PN’s message is being put on the backburner and given less prominence than foreign news. He presented statistics from recent bullettins, that according to him prove the bias towards the PL. The figures, which have not been independently verified, show that on 1 September 66% of news coverage was dedicated to the PL, while only 3% was dedicated to coverage of the PN. A similar pattern was observed on other days in September, Agius said.

He remarked that the PN is holding PBS to account and did not exclude further action going forward.

Asked whether a PN government will revamp PBS and remove it from a ministerial portfolio, Agius said the party will ensure the national broadcaster is administered in an honest way, so that the Maltese could put their mind at rest that there is no bias.

Agius however fell short of disclosing whether any concrete action will be taken in order to eliminate the influence of the party in power.

PN candidate Alessia Psaila Zammit said that media, democracy and public broadcasting should go hand in hand for an egalitarian society. She added that the country has a government and Opposition and if the news is biased, the right to information is undermined.