Alternattiva Demokratika’s representative Ralph Cassar today refused to take part in the parody of a ‘debate’ organised by the Broadcasting Authority.
Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson, Prof. Arnold Cassola, said: “With the new Chairperson taking up the post a few weeks a go, the Broadcasting Authority has reached the pits of political servilism to the PL and PN. It has scrapped all of the three debates in which Alternattiva Demokratika was involved with PN and PL, it has recommended that Xarabank leaves out AD from the two debates where the leaders were involved., it has objected to an AD candidate appearing for ten minutes on Skjetti; it has not enforced the directive that AD candidates should appear on NET and ONE TV stations in political debates. All this while the candidates on the PN and PL lists are given 24 hour exposure daily on these stations, and they even take the Broadcasting Authority for a ride, by pretending to be guests rather than presenting the programmes themselves, which they do in reality. In conclusion, it has fully earned itself the title of ‘Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe'”.
AD Spokesperson on Education Mario Mallia said:”Last Friday’s Xarabank left us none the wiser. A slinging match from beginning to end; a tit for tat encounter in an effort to portray the other party as the murkier of the two. Alternattiva Demokratika had a lot to say if only it was invited. But of course, editorially the die had been cast. AD had to be side lined at all costs compliments of the Broadcasting Authority. The PN and PL do not want to be in a debate with AD. And of course, the Broadcasting Authority which should serve as an institutional watchdog is anything but. Appointed by the PL and PN equally, it serves to accommodate its political masters. To hell with anything associated with the right for the electorate to be fully informed. But of course, for the status quo, open debate, it seems, is too dangerous to contemplate.
“As if the above is not enough, the Broadcasting Authority apparently finds no problem for the national broadcaster to air snippets lifted from NET and ONE to be aired on PBS news. It is not enough for NET and ONE to ignore regulations and keep on blaring propaganda 24/7 to the exclusion of any other position. NET and ONE have a legal obligation to represent what AD and others have to say in this election. As everybody can attest, AD on these stations is conspicuous by its absence. The law is broken and nothing happens. The BA is notoriously toothless when it comes to dealing with the big two but becomes very categorical when it deals with AD. The BA have shown what undemocratic credentials are, when it barred AD from its debates. Apartheid at its very best. Of course, the PN, on its proverbial moral high horse as saviour of democracy, finds no problem to play ball. This is symptomatic of the institutional malaise that our country is afflicted by. It is this which is at the bottom of our country’s ills, not who governs”.
The ‘Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe’ is composed of: Labourites Martin Micallef, Frans Ghirxi, Alessandro Lia, and Nationalists Peter Fenech and Chris Scicluna.