The Nationalist Party has accused PBS of censorship after the national news service failed to carry a statement by Opposition leader Bernard Grech calling on the prime minister to remove Carmelo Abela from cabinet pending a police investigation. 

The party has filed a complaint to the Broadcasting Authority about the matter.

Grech was reacting to a letter sent to European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders by Alfred and George Degiorgio, who are charged over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Naming Abela, the brothers said their requests for a presidential pardon had been rejected because the government did not want to hear their information on the involvement of a minister in major crimes. 

PBS has a duty to report impartially on both the government and the opposition

In a press conference on Thursday, Nationalist MP David Thake and candidate Dorian Sciberras said that the state broadcaster was ignoring the opposition and sidelining it’s work in order to give prominence to government propaganda. 

“The opposition has a constitutional role that PBS must respect and report on in an impartial manner in accordance with its duty,” Sciberras said. 

“The present situation is not right and cannot be tenable.”

Thake said that, since the PBS is publicly funded, it is the taxpayer who is inevitably footing the bill for the government propaganda being aired by the public broadcaster. 

“This is a worrying development, PBS has a duty to report impartially on both the government and the opposition and it is currently failing that responsibility,” he said.

“We expect the Broadcasting Authority to take action.” 

The PN has filed several complaints over lack of impartiality by PBS in the recent past.

It accused a journalist who interviewed Grech of having a partisan leaning and submitted another complaint when Lydia Abela, the prime minister’s wife, appeared on a Mother’s Day variety programme to which Anne Marie Grech, the opposition leader’s wife, was not invited.

It said on Friday that PBS had also failed to report this news conference on its media. It also failed to report Grech's speech in Parliament on Thursday or that a member of the Opposition had presented a private member's bill on the environment.

Earlier this year, it filed a protest about PBS’s failure to report court testimony given by Joseph Muscat on the privatisation deal of three public hospitals.

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