New PBS board will only ensure that it is under government control – PN

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Changing people on the board of the Public Broadcasting Services rather than reforming the system will only ensure that the service remained under the government’s control, Partit Nazzjonalista on Thursday.

Opposition spokesperson for media PN MP Therese Comodini Cachia said: “We have already seen how, under the guise of a circular issued by the Broadcasting Authority, the government abused of PBS by taking over prime time for its own partisan political purposes and with the added benefit of not having to broadcast questions raised by journalists.”

On Wednesday, the government announced the new PBS Board chaired by University Pro-Rector and Professor Carmen Sammut. The eight members who will serve as directors are Maria Brown, Ray Calleja, Jeremy Camilleri, Engelbert Grech, Albert Marshall, Marthese Portelli, Oliver Scicluna and Adriana Zarb Adami.

Comodini Cachia stressed that a reform of the Public Broadcasting Services was needed. She explained that the reform must ensure that the PBS is founded on independence and impartiality.

This includes limiting the use and control of public broadcasting by the government and ensuring fair, precise and impartial news coverage.

The reform should ensure that the PBS fulfills its public service obligation on current affairs and affairs of political controversy and ensure the public service obligation through programmes for the cultural, social and education development of society.

The Opposition MP highlighted that by appointing a board of directors who in their majority are individuals hailing from strong connections with Partit Laburista only continued to show how the Labour-led administration was not interested in reforming PBS. She noted that the government was only interested in retaining its grasp over it.

Comodini Cachia noted that this was the second missed opportunity for the government to show that it wanted real change.