Same approach, same mistakes

The penchants of most observers on many issues, including Paul Brincau (April 12), when dealing with the current very bad level of service given by local banks to the lower strata of society, are always those of either making comparison with situations subsisting abroad or harping on the need for increased use of IT, ATMs, internet banking and so forth.

But the fact remains that this is not a situation that will go away anytime soon simply through – a very comfortable approach, of course, for the banks themselves – simple repetitive adopting of such stances. If anything, persistence (even with a bad approach) only works over a very, very long time! And, meanwhile, people continue to suffer.

Two years ago, one of my students carried out research in the Department of Banking and Finance at the University of Malta into the issue of why locally some people (especially elders) become “adopters” and why others become “non-adopters” of such modern gizmos.

One conclusion among several was that concurrently closing branches and/or reducing the available number of ATMs and/or reducing the numbers of cashiers in banking halls has cumulative negative effect on levels of service and, indeed, does not help at all to bring, for example, workers and pensioners any nearer to technology.

It may be a profitable approach to take by the banks but does nothing to make them any more loved or appreciated by certain strata of society other than that of business. To continue denying that many people are suffering is, in this area, a very bad and cruel social approach.

John Consiglio – Birkirkara

Broadcasting blues

I make reference to the news item ‘Broadcasting Authority saw no need to act on TVM’s Pope Francis omission’ (April 19).

I air my concerns regarding whether things within our national broadcasting situation are truly running smoothly.

Our broadcasting laws are not in line with the constitution, impartiality cannot be observed by the political parties and the set-up of the Broadcasting Authority itself is problematic. Indeed, broadcasting in Malta has always been mired in controversies ever since the inception of a national broadcasting authority. It was a hot issue when PBS came on the scene.

The Broadcasting Authority was brought into being to ensure good programmes and to ensure that political balance is maintained.

Has it ever given a satisfactory account on these two counts or has it transformed itself into a platform of perennial controversies?

We are seeing a widespread assault on the importance, even legiti­macy, of our public service broadcasting. It has been called elitist, statist, unaccountable, divisive and exclusive. Economically, its financial basis might be eroded by diminishing support from public funds, increasing disparities in income between public and commercially funded broadcasters, escalating costs and questions of equity. While there may be legal guarantees of public service broadcaster independence, in practice, government discretion over funding and top appointments often compromises independence.

Well-funded and strong public service media should be a good indicator that our democracy is healthy.

However, the situation on the ground gives rise to concerns. I perceive an emerging trend of threats to the independence of public broadcasters or of their regulatory bodies. A growing number of alerts concern political interference in the editorial line of public broadcasters, insufficient safeguards in the legislation against political bias or the lack of appropriate funding to guarantee the independence of the public broadcasters.

This indirectly plays havoc with our right to full, impartial, independent, objective, factual and investigative information concerning current affairs of national interest.

Our broadcasting system has to be made accountable and, unless it is, it is going to be very hard to change anything else for the better in this country.

Mark Said – Msida

Letters to the editor should be sent to Please include your full name, address and ID card number. The editor may disclose personal information to any person or entity seeking legal action on the basis of a published letter. 

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.