It’s been less than three weeks since we announced we will be going ahead with our court case to declare a law that allows propaganda TV to be declared unconstitutional. And in that time we’ve already triggered a national debate about broadcasting reform and the need to end political party ownership of TV stations. Here’s a round-up of some of the biggest things that happened so far.
1. We made it to Euronews!
Our case is already making waves beyond Malta’s shores. As part of the series Uncovering Europe, Euronews wrote an excellent long-form piece about the case, with a detailed explanation of why we’re doing what we’re doing. They also got comments from Reporters Without Borders and Net News boss Karl Gouder who admitted that the media company fell into huge financial difficulties in 2013.
2. Times of Malta backed our campaign
In an editorial, Times of Malta became the first newspaper to openly support Lovin Malta’s court action against TV propaganda, auguring that the historic move would trigger “long overdue” holistic reform in the broadcasting sector.
3. We interviewed Chris Fearne about the case
Lovin Malta interviewed Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne last week and we asked him about this issue. He said it was “very dangerous” that we were trying to “muzzle” the voices of political parties and claimed, incorrectly, that the Constitution only speaks about public media. However, he conceded that it was not acceptable for party media not to publish their accounts. His comments follow similar comments by Prime Minister Robert Abela and Opposition leader Bernard Grech.
Watch here (from 13.50)
4. We got interviewed ourselves…
Expat-targeted news site 4Malta produced a special feature about our case, giving us the chance to rebut some of the frequently made claims against our campaign. Meanwhile, a radio programme by Andrew Azzopardi on Newsbook / 103 FM was partly dedicated to this case. We also got the opportunity to have our say and an extract can be followed by scrolling down on the link below. Other people interviewed about the case were Fr Joe Borg, Austin Bencini, Alfred Grixti and others.
Watch 4Malta here (from 3.15)
Watch Newsbook interview here
5. Malta’s top opinion columnists joined the discussion
Raphael Vassallo, Michael Falzon, Fr Joe Borg, Ranier Fsadni and Anna Marie Galea all dedicated their weekly columns to the case. Vassallo said that the real fight against party stations should be fought through the lens of fair competition. Falzon said “from a legal standpoint, there is certainly a case for the stand being taken by Lovin Malta”. Fr Joe Borg described the action as a very good publicity stunt that is lost in a time warp. Anna Maria Galea supported the campaign, arguing that to move forward Malta “must finally remove the shackles of what has kept us ignorant, incapable of critical thinking and enslaved to one party’s beliefs over another’s”. Meanwhile, Ranier Fsadni took a more holistic approach, arguing that polarisation is not just due to the political media.
6. We dug out another interesting opinion piece
Many people argue that the political party stations ensure media pluralism. But as this opinion piece by former Labour minister Lino Spiteri said: “The party media do not exist to encourage and bolster pluralism. They are, by definition and increasingly in practice, the opposite of what pluralism should mean in journalistic terms.” This opinion piece from 2002, ties in with the speech by former President George Abela from 2011 where he made the exact same legal argument we will be making in court.
7. Broadcasting Authority rules that One TV was not impartial
Lovin Malta has filed a number of cases against One TV and Net TV for lack of impartiality in their news reports. This is a particularly interesting exercise because it demonstrates the strange (and untenable) situation where the broadcasting regulator is appointed by the operators: three members by the governing Labour Party and two by the Nationalist opposition party. So far, the BA ruled against Lovin Malta’s complaint in the two cases of One.
Read more here
8. Meanwhile, One and Net keep being One and Net…
In case you had any doubt about how the partisan stations distort the truth, they gave us a perfect example this week after a ruling by the Speaker.
Read more here.
As you can see, a lot has happened already and we haven’t even filed the court case yet. Stay tuned for some bigger announcements very soon! In the meantime, please share as much of this content as possible and feel free to support our campaign with your donations so we can make sure this website reaches even more people.
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