Former PBS head of news Norma Saliba, who resigned from her post in late July after a fallout with PBS executive chairman Mark Sammut, has bagged another government job and will be serving as the executive head of a newly created ‘Centre of the Maltese Language’ (Ċentru tal-Ilsien Malti).
The Centre falls under the remit of National Heritage, Arts and Local Government Minister Owen Bonnici. According to a government press release on Friday, the Centre will be aiding the existing National Council for the Maltese Language in its “administrative and organisational tasks implementing the Maltese national language and identity,” raising questions about the need for the newly created Centre.
According to PBS sources who spoke to The Shift last July, Sammut had already given Saliba several disciplinary warnings over the past months, mainly in relation to insubordination, with her departure being part of a long-drawn-out power struggle between the two.
Saliba’s political appointment by Abela as PBS head of news in 2020 had raised concerns given her history as a ONE TV reporter and considering PBS’s already pro-government leanings. In fact, following her appointment, Saliba’s gatekeeping was seen to have gone a notch further in favour of the Labour Party, with the Broadcasting Authority admonishing PBS on many occasions for bias.
Meanwhile, despite his inexperience in the field, Sammut was appointed PBS chairman in April 2021. Last June, The Shift revealed his double salary as CEO and board chairman.
The Centre of the Maltese Language, on which Saliba will be serving as executive head, was established on Friday through Legal Notice 201 of 2023, which characterises it as “the executive organ” of the already-existing Council and describes Saliba’s role simply as being “responsible for the day-to-day management of the Centre.”