The national broadcaster has been ordered to give the PN 15 minutes worth of 30-second spots to react to last month’s budget, but thrown out three other complaints.  

In a series of announcements on its website, the Broadcasting Authority on Monday said it had ordered PBS to allocate the slots following a complaint filed by the Nationalist Party last month.   

The spots are to be aired during the commercial breaks for the 8pm news bulletin as of next week.  

The BA said the spots aired by the government contained statements of a political nature and therefore created a political imbalance.  

The PN, the BA said, should have been given the chance to rebut these statements.  

In a press release on Monday evening, the PN said the BA had sided with the PN after it had flagged the matter. 

“We will continue doing whatever it takes to ensure PBS is balanced and fair,” PN deputy leader David Agius said.    

Pre-approval for current affairs shows was not meant as gag

Another decision published by the BA regards an announcement by PBS informing current affairs shows to submit topics "for pre-approval" 15 days ahead.  

PBS lawyer Mark Vassallo said that current affairs shows could still change the content of the program in the last minute. The directive was meant to avoid repetition of the same subject matter being covered over and over.It was not, he said, meant to stop programmes from covering specific topics. 

The BA said the matter was an internal one and therefore dismissed the complaint.  

Another complaint that the BA turned down concerned a discussion program that had invited Labour electoral candidates as guests.  

The BA, however, ruled that since the guests had not talked about matters the were political in nature there were no grounds for the complaint to be upheld.  

The final decision released by the BA concerned another complaint by the PN after one of its statements was not reported by PBS. The statement in question concerned Steward Health Care, the US firm running a concession on three state hospitals.   

The BA heard from PBS how the PN’s views had indeed ben reported at other junctures. The BA ruled against the PN.  

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