BA directives stipulate that political leaders can only be shown on TV if they cast their vote as did Joseph Muscat this morning in Burmarrad. (Photo: Ray Attard/MediaToday)
The Broadcasting Authority (BA) has issued warnings to Net TV and One TV for violating the authority's directives in regards to local council elections.
A BA spokesperson told MaltaToday that the two television stations received letters today informing them that they must respect the authority's directives on local elections.
Net TV broadcast images of the Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi touring polling stations and shaking hands with supporters and candidates. The BA informed Net TV's media manager Louiselle Vassallo that such images violate the authority's directive which stipulates that political leaders can only be filmed whilst voting.
In its letter the authority warned Net TV that it had not taken any action despite previous warnings which were sent to PN secretery general Paul Borg Olivier and Net TV's news manager Nathaniel Attard. Since the station did not stop airing the footage, the authority informed the electoral commission about the matter and only then did Net TV comply with the BA's directive.
Since, Lawrence Gonzi did not cast his vote as elections were not held in Marsascala, his hometown, no images of his can be broadcast of him touring polling stations. The letter clearly says that Net TV should stop showing such images with immediate effect.
On the other hand, One TV was also admonished for airing comments by the Opposition leader Joseph Muscat who cast his vote in Burmarrad. The BA spokesperson said that the directives specify that no comments by political leaders in regards to local elections can be broadcast until polling stations are open. Unlike Net TV, the station stopped airing Muscat's comments and no further action was required.