TVM has refused to explain its failure to prominently report the pope’s anti-corruption message during a speech on Saturday.

Shortly after his arrival, in a speech given side-by-side with President George Vella, Pope Francis hammered home the point about how corruption impacts society.

“May you always cultivate legality and transparency which will enable the eradication of corruption and criminality, neither of which acts openly and in broad daylight,” he told an audience of dignitaries at the Grandmaster’s Palace, in Valletta.

While the anti-corruption stance made front-page news in all of Malta’s independent websites and newspapers, the national broadcaster instead chose to focus on the pope’s flowery description of Malta as the “heart of the Mediterranean”.

TVM emphasised how the pontiff reflected on the “confluence of winds” affecting Malta from various directions, both socially and politically.

It reported the pope’s description of Malta as a “nest of historical events” and the thousands of years “welcoming persons of different nationalities”.

No references, however, were made to the pope’s anti-corruption message in TVM’s online report of his speech and neither was it referenced in the news bulletin about the same speech.

Pope Francis delivers his speech at the Grandmaster's Palace as President George Vella looks on. Photo: CuriaPope Francis delivers his speech at the Grandmaster's Palace as President George Vella looks on. Photo: Curia

Instead, the national broadcaster uploaded the pope’s entire 20-minute speech, in Italian, on its website.

TVM head of news Norma Saliba did not respond to a request for comment from Times of Malta about the editorial decision to bury the pope’s anti-corruption message.

PBS has long faced accusations of acting as a government mouthpiece.

A shake-up of its programming last year saw news and current affairs programmes being relegated to a secondary channel called TVM News Plus.

Opposition leader Bernard Grech has repeatedly slammed the use of PBS as a “partisan” tool in the hands of the government.

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