Broadcasting Authority rejects PN’s complaint over Prime Minister’s New Year message

The Opposition had filed a complaint with the Broadcasting Authority over the New Year message, arguing that its ‘propagandistic’ content required a reply by the PN leader.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat delivering his New Year's message from a kitchen
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat delivering his New Year's message from a kitchen

The Broadcasting Authority has rejected a complaint filed by the Opposition over the New Year message that featured Prime Minister Joseph Muscat meeting a young couple in their kitchen.

The Opposition had complained that the “highly propagandistic” video deserved a reply by the leader of the opposition as a remedy. On its part, the Public Broadcasting Services argued that the message had been no different to those delivered by previous prime ministers and the message only differed in its presentation.

The BA said it was not within its remit to comment about the video format and the style of the production. It said, that it was the duty of PBS to air the Prime Minister’s message and it was recognised that such a message would list government’s work over the previous year and its plans for the coming year. This, it added, was also what went on in messages delivered by European leaders.

The BA also said that the different positions on the topics touched upon by the prime minister had been amply discussed in the media.

It referred to a similar complaint which the PN had filed in 2013 and which the board of the day had rejected.

The Authority want on to point out that the BA had drafted a set of guidelines to regulate ministerial broadcasts. Two years ago, the authority had said that it would published updated guidelines that would also cover the Prime Minister’s message to the nation.

“The Authority will ensure that these guidelines are published in the near future.”

In a reaction the Nationalist Party expressed its disappointment “for the BA’s failure in not recognizing the evident political controversy” and for failing to provide an adequate remedy.

The PN said it was reserving all rights permitted by law and accused the Authority of “failing its duties in guaranteeing due impartiality as per the country’s Constitution”.

“The Authority also failed to consider that this was a programme, acted out from beginning to end,” it said.

In a reaction, the Labour Party said Simon Busuttil’s negativity knew now end and the PN was attacking the BA simply because it did not uphold their complaint.

“It is clear that whoever disagrees with the opposition will be attacked,” Labour said.

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