Carmelo Abela hits out at Opposition’s 'fake' criticism of national broadcaster

Minister Carmelo Abela says national broadcaster more impartial than ever before

Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela
Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela

Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela has hit out at criticism by the Nationalist Party on the national broadcaster, stating it is more impartial than ever before.

“Through the reform, not only did we reduce the number of news programmes, but we increased them, and I am sorry to say this is fake criticism from the PN,” Abela said in parliament.

For a number of months, the PN has claimed the national broadcaster is being strategically controlled by government to present “imbalanced reporting”.

Last week, PN Deputy Leader David Agius said the government has turned PBS into a propaganda machine, in preparation for the general election, which according to him is only "weeks away".

Speaking during the winding down speech, Abela said the opposition was not right in their criticism of the national broadcaster.

He also pointed out that he was the first guest to be interviewed on Saviour Balzan’s Xtra.

“Had he sat down and looked at what is really happening, he would have noticed that he was the first guest on one of the new winter schedule’s programmes,” he said.

He also drew comparisons between the PN’s time in government and now.

“I don’t see PBS journalists running around opposition MPs asking them on their proposals and how much they would cosy, unlike like the PN’s time in government,” he said.

He also said the PN “has not changed”, as it is not able to differentiate between government and party.

“The distinction must be drawn, the people have the right to know what government is doing,” he said, referring to statistics published by the PN on the subjects of news items in the national broadcaster’s 8 pm bulletin.

“Not only ARE the major parties being quoted in the news. You have certain individuals, you have the small parties, and you also have a certain NGO (Repubblika) which is far from biased in favour of government,” he said. “If you don’t have anything of substance to quote, what is there to quote?”

Abela also praised the reforms being carried out under his watch, saying they are the result of consultation with local and foreign stakeholders.

“We know have the two television stations which are being given the same importance as each other,” he said.

The minister was referring to TVMnews+, the station which replaced TVM 2.