IĠM slams BA for insisting on censoring journalists’ questions

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Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Institute of Maltese Journalists (IĠM) has slammed the Broadcasting Authority for insisting on its decision to censor journalists’ questions from being aired on PBS.

Last Monday, the Broadcasting Authority stopped PBS from broadcasting questions at the end of a press conference by Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne and Public Health Superintendent Professor Charmaine Gauci.

The Broadcasting Authority stood firm by its controversial decision to block TVM from airing the questions of journalists during live press conferences, insisting that this decision was final.

The decision was made in response to a complaint by the Nationalist Party, but the party’s embattled leader Adrian Delia has nevertheless disagreed with the decision, insisting that other solutions could have been found to address media imbalance.

In a statement on Thursday, the institute noted that the Broadcasting Authority persisted on blaming journalists for their questions, instead of rectifying the error of judgement it made in forcing the PBS into the position of a state broadcaster, effectively providing censored material to its audience.

The institute reminded that it is a journalist’s job to ask questions, adding that it is a fundamental right. It is also the public’s right to information.

“It is a politician’s job to answer. It is called transparency and accountability,” the institute stated.

In this particular case, it transpires that the Prime Minister was door-stepped by a journalist after the latter asserted in the presser, that the PM’s office had failed to answer several questions, the institute explained.

The IĠM slammed the BA for choosing to censor those who speak for the public. It highlighted that the decision flies in the face of impartiality since it is “unbalanced in the favour of the powerful”.

The institute remarked that the decision is a ‘gross’ disservice to democracy and to the public.

“It is high time this institution makes acquaintance with the 21st Century,” the IĠM concluded.