The national station has been fined €5,592 by the Broadcasting Authority for refusing to broadcast a right-of-reply by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi.

Azzopardi had complained that PBS did not broadcast his reaction to a report quoting Minister Carmelo Abela hitting out at the Opposition MP.

The report had been broadcast on May 16, after the PN MP claimed that Abela allegedly aided the mastermind behind the attempted HSBC bank heist for a €300,000 payment from the loot.

The minister had categorically denied the “lies” and immediately resorted to court, suing Azzopardi for libel. 

On June 10, the BA ordered PBS to broadcast Azzopardi’s side of the story. However, the right of reply was never published, and BA accused PBS of breaching broadcasting law. 

As a result, on Thursday the authority increased a €4,660 fine by 20 per cent to €5,592, as allowed by law.

PBS’s legal advisor Mark Vassallo said the station would be taking the authority to court since it had not allowed the station to appeal the decision.

According to PBS, the authority’s actions lacked due process and breached the Constitution.

But the authority said in its statement that PBS had not flagged any circumstances that justified the delay in broadcasting Azzopardi’s reply.

The penalty imposed on PBS has to be paid within 60 days.

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