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Broadcasting Authority appeals decision on delayed imbalance redress

The Broadcasting Authority has appealed a constitutional court judgement which found that it had failed to ensure impartiality on TVM and discriminated against the PN.

The issue stemmed from an interview aired on TVM about the newly inaugurated Marsa flyover project. The PN had demanded a right of reply and later complained about delays in the broadcasting of that reply.

The authority is claiming in its appeal that it could not be held responsible for the delay as it did not possess the powers to take speedy action without proper fair hearing and the administrative process.

The PN rebutted that the BA argument was both “ironic and capricious.”

In seeking to afford TVM a fair hearing, the authority failed to intervene in time to put an end to “lack of impartiality and balance.”

Not only did the Authority drag its feet to redress the imbalance, but it later also suspended the pecuniary penalty imposed upon the state broadcaster.

The PN also expressed disagreement with reasoning by the BA that once the party had its own broadcasting station, that was enough to guarantee its fundamental right to free expression since the party had every means to convey its message to the public.

The court needed to take a strong stand against such a dangerous argument, the PN said.

The PN also filed its own appeal after the lower court dismissed its claim that 15 minutes’ worth of PN adverts at the time of the Budget were practically neutralised when sandwiched between government ads.

The first court had observed that the PN had failed to file a second formal protest before the BA and instead had only registered its complaint in an informal manner.

Lawyers Paul Borg Olivier and Francis Zammit Dimech are assisting the PN.

Profs Ian Refalo and lawyer Mark Refalo are assisting the BA. Times Malta

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