Help us stop the political class from breaking the law

This is the official website of Lovin Malta’s campaign to stop disinformation and heal partisan divides, starting by enforcing the impartiality rules of the Constitution. We believe political parties should divest their ownership in One TV and Net TV to reduce their susceptibility to corruption.

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Illegal TV propaganda is keeping Malta divided and misinformed

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We’re asking the courts to enforce TV impartiality as our Constitution demands

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Don’t just take our word for it. Read the law for yourself.

Extract from Article 119 of the Constitution of Malta on impartiality in broadcasting services

So what does the Constitution say?

Article 119 of the Constitution* says it is the Broadcasting Authority’s role to ensure that TV broadcasts in Malta are as impartial as possible when it comes to political controversy.

So how can One TV and Net TV exist? Aren’t they the very opposite of that?

In 1991, Parliament passed the Broadcasting Act which allowed the Broadcasting Authority to “consider the general output” of all stations “together as a whole”. In other words, Parliament decided that the propaganda of One TV and Net TV can balance each other out.

This is the law we are challenging in court. The Constitution does not speak about balance. It demands as much impartiality as possible. A Constitutional wrong is not made right because two entities are doing it.

*This is the highest law in the land.

Why should you care?

TV news and current affairs programmes are what keep voters informed. If many people in the country are simply exposed to propaganda, our democracy loses the ability to discuss important ideas, think critically and make informed decisions. We end up in a popularity game between two forces which compete on who can spend the most money to manipulate the masses. This also makes political parties vulnerable to organised crime which can have serious effects on our economy. Malta deserves better than that. You have a right to live in a country where people have wide access to fair and factual information rather than unregulated propaganda.

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Net TV & One TV are broke and haven’t published their accounts for over 10 years

View losses

Years spent breaking Company law by not publishing audited accounts

One TV

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Net TV

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They depend on corruption and your taxpayer money to survive

Having a debate with friends? Here are some misconceptions you might want to discuss.

Help us fight misinformation

Myth: This is an act against freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression does not give anybody the right to abuse of their TV licence. In fact, television is a highly regulated sector all over the world because it is the most powerful medium. It is consumed passively, even by the most vulnerable members of society, such as children and the elderly. It is not against freedom of expression to ban the advertising of smoking on TV. Similarly, it is not against freedom of expression to demand as much impartiality as possible in political programming.

No other European country has party-owned TV stations. The following countries explicitly ban political parties from owning media companies: Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and the UK. So there is nothing abnormal with disallowing political parties and it does not breach their freedom of expression.

Myth: You are trying to shut down the TV stations to reduce competition.

Actually, we are not even saying that the TV stations should close. Those who believe this are already the victims of propaganda against our initiative. All we are saying is that these stations should obey basic laws, like the Constitution, and that the political parties should divest of their ownership in them, even to reduce the financial burden on the parties that inevitably leads to corruption. One TV and Net TV can continue to exist. So can all their employees and programmes. But they should not be owned by political parties and they should strive to be as impartial as possible – not as propagandistic as possible. This is what our Constitution and basic decency rules demand.

Myth: No media is impartial. At least you know where you stand with party media.

It is true that no media is 100% impartial but it is also true that media have an obligation and a duty to be as fair and impartial as possible. Our party media believe they have no such obligation so when they do news or current affairs they are completely propagandistic.

This leads to disinformation which is wrong, even if we know who is behind it. Rape doesn’t stop being wrong because you know who is raping you. Similarly, knowing who owns the stations does not make us immune to the effects of their 24/7 propaganda brainwashing us from when we are very young.

Myth: You cannot ban political party stations until you reform TVM.

Our political parties both criticise TVM when they’re in Opposition and then exert control over it when they’re in government. They also have a direct interest in undermining TVM because it is a direct competitor to their commercial stations.

Before reforming TVM, the political parties need to divest of their stations. Then they can focus on doing their job as legislators to come up with better regulations. They must start by investing in the Broadcasting Authority but as things stand they will not do that because they have an interest in the Broadcasting Authority being as weak as possible. This conflict of interest must go before real reform can be done.

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This is a Kaxxaturi project crowdfunded by concerned citizens

Here’s how it all began…

Last summer, we asked you to support our campaign to bring an end to party-owned stations. You donated over €7,662 to help us mount this historic legal challenge. Our first step is to file a case in the Civil Court, requesting it to declare the Broadcasting Act’s proviso anti-constitutional.

We are supporting this case with ongoing investigative journalism and an information campaign. Your support can help us continue pushing this nationwide debate for broadcasting reform.

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Here’s what they said

“It is time for political parties to get rid of anachronistic TV stations”

“Dan żgur li mhux fl-interess taċ-ċittadin li għandu dritt ikun infurmat il-ħin kollu dwar kull veduta biex jieħu deċiżjoni infurmata sew”

President Emeritus George Abela, 2011

“Political parties should not occupy TV media space”

“A change in the broadcasting legislation is needed”

“The sole purpose of party-owned TV stations is to serve the party interests and ensure that the party gains power or stays in power… The very concept is hideous”

“The Broadcasting Law will be challenged in court. It is unconstitutional in view of the provisions on impartiality and other reasons”

Former Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, 1991

“Party ownership is a transitional phenomenon… the need for the parties to have their own stations will cease”

“Shut down political party media, it’s Malta’s only hope”

“If we will continue having two political stations, we will continue having two versions of the truth, two versions of reality”

“I don’t think that when Net TV was set up 20 years ago the idea was for that channel to last forever”

“This phenomenon is dividing us into political tribes”

“The days of party-owned TV stations are numbered. Political parties must find less costly means to get their message across”

“Fi stat utopiku m’għandniex bżonn stazzjonijiet tal-partiti. Dak huwa l-istat ideali”

“This is a subject I enjoy and am open to further discussion on it”

How Malta became the only EU country with party-owned TV stations

The incoming Nationalist government proposes a Broadcasting Act to enable media pluralism. Opposition leader Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici declares law unconstitutional but it passes through Parliament. That same year, the parties open Super One Radio and Radio 101.
1991
Labour Party launches Super One TV.
1994
On the back of losing 1996 election, PN opens Net TV as leader Eddie Fenech Adami promises stations are a “transitional phenomenon”.
1998
Net TV publishes audited accounts for the last time.
2003
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