Updated: PBS accuses PL of manipulating information
The Labour Party was manipulating information given in Parliament in an unacceptable way, PBS said this afternoon.
It was replying to claims made earlier by PL spokesman Gino Cauchi who told a news conference that public broadcasting was putting the Labour Party at a disadvantage, as confirmed by official information given in Parliament by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Minister Dolores Cristina.
Mr Cauchi said that between October last year and April, there were 86 programmes on PBS for which ministers, parliamentary secretaries and PN officials were invited. On the other hand, there were only 53 programmes for which Labour MPs were invited.
He said that between October last year and May, there were 26 news bulletins which included comments from the Prime Minister and only 18 in which the leader of the opposition commented. In the same period, there were 97 services which included comments from ministers or parliamentary secretary but only 10 which included comments from Opposition MPs.
The biggest discrepancies, Mr Cauchi said, were registered in the first three months of this year when the possibility of an early election was being mentioned.
In its reply, PBS said that between January and May this year, the leader of the Opposition leader appeared in 107 news items, 16 times more than the Prime Minister.
Broadcasting Authority statistics showed that in 1997, the full year of the Labour government, TVM had an average of 183 stories a month featuring the Labour government when there were now an average of 34.
The Labour Party, PBS said, was manipulating the information given by the Prime Minister and Mrs Cristina.
For the information requested was how many times had MPs appeared on PBS programmes. These figures did not include the representatives the PL sent who were not MPs.
Giving an example, PBS said Xarabank invited PL deputy leader Anglu Farrugia but the party sent a candidate instead of him. But according to how the PL, it was not represented during the programme.
The station said that the PL campaign against PBS did not have anything to do with balance but was being carried out because the national station was seeing an increase in viewership which was badly affecting advertising on the PL’s station.