Next Saturday’s Dissett shall feature both the PL and the PN deputy leaders according to a decision the Public Broadcasting Services editorial board took last Monday, the station said.

This, PBS said, showed that the BA’s directive today had not been necessary.

PBS was reacting to Broadcasting Authority statement earlier today, in which the latter said it was ordering the station to invite both deputy leaders for the programme.

In this statement, the BA criticised PBS 'for placing itself above the authority' when it said it was considering a BA recommendation issued on Saturday to have both deputy leaders for the programme.

The recommendation, the BA said, should have been accepted by a public broadcasting station and such behaviour from PBS was not acceptable and would not be tolerated just a few days before the beginning of an electoral campaign.

But PBS said that when the BA issued its recommendation, it genuinely believed that the authority wanted to send political parties a message that it was PBS and not they which decided the subjects to be discussed and on which date.

However, the BA’s statement today made it clear that this was not the case.

It said that when the editorial board discussed the matter on Monday, it considered the BA’s recommendation and a request from Mr Grech who asked for the debate on Xarabank of January 11 to be postponed for personal reasons.

PBS said it would have expected the authority to verify whether such a statement was necessary before it issued it. It said it took this negative development very seriously and would explain its position in more detail in the coming days.

Last week’s programme had been planned to feature just PL deputy leader Louis Grech.

The PN complained and the BA recommended the inclusion of both deputy leaders.

In its directive today, the BA also ordered that its decision be read in today’s TVM news bulletin.

See also here.

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