Angela Azzopardi Agius, a presenter and host on national TV, has been elected on the Labour Party’s executive but unlike opposition MP Claudette Buttigieg she has not been removed from the station’s schedule.
The Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) guidelines for its broadcasters impedes all persons who are involved in the presentation of news and current affairs programmes from being associated with political parties. It also obliges all TVM broadcasters to provide “impartial and unbiased information.”
In 2012, Nationalist MP Claudette Buttigieg was stopped from hosting her magazine programme Sellili on TVM after announcing her intention to contest the 2013 election.
Five years later, an administrative review tribunal decided that the decision was unfounded, abusive and illegal but TVM said that it would be appealing the decision, as this ran counter to PBS’ constitutional requirements of impartiality and balance.
Azzopardi Agius, who is also the Labour Party coordinator on the 8th electoral district, presents a daily magazine programme Niskata which includes a wide array of topics, such as health, education, social issues and lifestyle.
In her campaign for the Labour Party’s national executive election held on Sunday, Azzopardi Agius pledged to serve with “loyalty and energy.”
After being elected, the former Labour Party TV employee, took to Facebook to thank the delegates and said “I promise to do my utmost to work hand in hand with all the other members of the executive and the party’s administration to achieve a future Malta which this party deserves.”
The PBS guidelines issued in 2014 clearly state that “a robust public broadcaster is important for any democracy” and the national broadcaster should strive to be a leader, not only in providing quality programs to the public, but also, and more importantly, as the main source of balanced and unbiased information.
“This means that all broadcasters on the PBS platform shall ensure that the basic principle of impartiality and accuracy is at the top of their production agenda, particularly in regards to news and current affairs programmes.”
Moreover, all TVM employees who are involved with political parties or any sort of public campaign are obliged to inform the station’s head of news in writing before their participation is made public.
Joseph Muscat witness at Norma Saliba’s wedding
Last week, The Shift News revealed that TVM journalist and chairperson of the Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM), Norma Saliba, has been appointed by government to the stamp design advisory board.
Despite PBS’ constitutional obligations of impartiality and balance, Saliba denied any conflict of interest and told The Malta Independent “my role on the board has nothing to do with the media or with my voluntary work at IGM.”
The TVM journalist who started her career at Labour’s ONE TV added that she is not the only board member with a journalistic background or from the national broadcaster.
“If you do some research you will see that there are other journalists and broadcasters serving on government boards or agencies,” she said.
On Sunday, Saliba tied the knot with Labour TV presenter Manuel Micallef and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was one of the couple’s witnesses. A video of the wedding celebrations was uploaded on the national broadcaster’s online news portal.