Repubblika accuses PBS of censorship

Repubblika president Robert Aquilina accuses PBS of censoring the NG0, saying the national broadcaster is 'hijacked' by Castille

Civil society NGO Repubblika has accused the government of censorship, demanding it be given fair representation on the national broadcaster.

"We demand our rightful exposure on the national broadcaster, where we can articulate our arguments to the Maltese and Gozitan people," Robert Aquilina said on Friday.  

The NGO president said the Public Broadcasting Services should serve as a platform for diverse voices, including those critical of government.

"I make it clear that it is not enough that our protests are reported in the news for a few seconds, towards the end of the bulletin, with our message passed through a filter to protect the interests of the party in the Government," Aquilina added.

Expressing their frustration at being side-lined on the PBS, Aquilina warned that Repubblika will no longer accept a situation where their voice is “censored by a station that is supposed to belong to the people.”

“We are no longer going to accept a situation where something that is rightfully ours is hijacked by Castile," Aquilina said.

Aquilina lamented that in the past two years, Republic were never invited on any PBS programme.

“The last time I was invited on PBS was in the 2021/22 schedule, almost three years ago,” he said.

He also said the TVM newsroom is still without a head of news, following the resignation of Norma Saliba earlier this year.

“We call for the selection of a new Head of News for PBS to be based on applications rather than being appointed by a minister or the prime minister,” Robert Aquilina said.

He cited a bill currently before the European Parliament - the European Media Freedom Act – which requires that such appointments be made in a transparent manner. 

Members of the European Parliament are expected to vote in a law that forces EU member states to ensure independent structures for public and national broadcasters. 

For a country like Malta, where PBS’s close control by central government has been a bone of contention for decades, the law could have wide ramifications.