Norma Saliba steps down from TVM head of news, blames ‘character assassination campaign’

Norma Saliba has resigned from TVM head of news • Sources speak of clash with PBS executive chair Mark Sammut

Norma Saliba
Norma Saliba

Norma Saliba has resigned from head of news at the national TV station, citing a “deceitful character assassination campaign” against her as reason for the decision.

Saliba was appointed head of news three years ago, taking over from Reno Bugeja.

In a pointed Facebook post Saliba insisted that she never took advantage of her position to “benefit or destroy” anyone. “Despite this, over the past few weeks I ended up being a victim of a deceitful character assassination campaign… silence was my reply but more effort is needed to protect journalists and show more respect to women in top posts,” she added cryptically.

Saliba said her resignation was motivated by “personal reasons” even though she still had more to give the profession.

“I’ve taken the decision with serenity,” she said, thanking those who worked with her and showed her respect and loyalty.

When contacted to elaborate, Saliba said she had nothing more to add to her Facebook post.

Saliba has been at the centre of pointed criticism from the Nationalist Party that has accused TVM of being an offshoot of the Labour Party’s One News. In her long Facebook post, Saliba said that on her watch, PBS won more cases than it lost over complaints of impartiality made with the Broadcasting Authority.

But sources close to TVM have told MaltaToday, Saliba had been on long leave for the past few weeks as things came to a head between her and PBS executive chairman Mark Sammut.

MaltaToday understands that Sammut did not see eye to eye with his news editor and had even removed her from registered editor in January last year, appointing in her stead CEO Charles Dalli, who has no journalistic experience. Saliba remained head of news.

"Mark Sammut made her life hell," one source who wanted to remain anonymous told MaltaToday.

Other sources close to Cabinet have told MaltaToday that Saliba’s father, veteran sports reporter Mario Saliba, recently wrote a stern letter to all ministers complaining over the way his daughter was being treated by the company management.

"The letter ruffled feathers but Mark Sammut enjoys the Prime Minister's support," one Cabinet source put it to MaltaToday.