RTK103 to take legal action against Broadcasting Authority

Radio station RTK103 has announced its intention to take legal action against the Broadcasting Authority (BA) following a hefty fine imposed on it for refusing to air the views of the far-right Imperium Europa party led by convicted racist Norman Lowell.

The BA issued a notice for an urgent meeting with RTK103 on Thursday, 6 June, demanding justification for the station’s stance or face a € 4,190 fine.

This comes after the BA secretary, Adriano Spiteri, previously an active member of Imperium Europa, publicly condemned Malta’s hate speech laws and disagreed with the BA’s previous decision to ban an Imperium Europa broadcast on immigrants.

In January, RTK103 was fined €6,410 by the BA after its radio host, Andrew Azzopardi, stated he would never allow Norman Lowell to express his “racist” views on the programme.

In 2013, an appeals court confirmed a Magistrates’ Court judgment finding Lowell guilty of three charges of inciting racial hatred.

An RTK103 spokesperson expressed concerns about the BA’s impartiality, citing how the BA board repeatedly blocked RTK103’s attempts to exclude Dr Spiteri from meetings due to his ties with Imperium Europa.

The spokesperson also criticised the BA’s decision that Imperium Europa’s misleading advertisement featuring an edited clip of Peppi Azzopardi, a long-standing voice for human rights, did not breach any laws.

The spokesperson referred to a provision in the Broadcasting Act that prohibited discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin, among other factors, and accused the BA of willfully ignoring this provision while defending Lowell, who has been found guilty of inciting racial hatred and who has publicly declared that “Nazism was alright at the time.”

“It is indeed ironic that as the world commemorates the 80th anniversary of D-Day – during which thousands of Allied soldiers gave up their lives to end the tyranny of Nazism across Europe – the BA is doing what it can to ensure that fascist sentiments can still be expressed on Malta’s airwaves,” the spokesperson concluded.

                           

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