OPINION: On Manipulative Culture

No apology is made if return is resorted to problems, as yet untackled, in that PBS building at Gwardamangia.  The scene this time is set in a PBS news reading at 6 p.m. on Radio Malta.  The item is that about the Environment Minister’s actions, or as yet only planned actions, with regards to Malta’s excessive production of construction rubble.

The news reader first informs us all in the headlines that Malta’s building and construction  industry is presently producing rubble at a rate so high that it ranks as third highest in Europe.  Inevitably, any listener would register such a headline and expect elucidation plus fuller details specifically about it further, following in the full details of the news.  But no man, that element is simply ignored and what one then hears is about everything else but that specific very worrisome reality.

This is the sort of either carelessness, or incompetence, or sheer mental manipulation of listeners’ minds, that have come to become rampant daily function in the PBS news room there. There is an honest and totally unbiased expectancy in the majority of PBS’s listeners who expect to be treated with much more care, respect, and objectivity.

For starters, a head-to-head discussion meeting across the table is needed with the Opposition’s broadcasting shadower. As a then following step totally new boards at both the Broadcasting Authority and in PBS Ltd absolutely need to be urgently put in place. It should not be an impossible task to find people who have enough independence of mind, intelligence, and cultural background, to tell off some of the nincompoops now working in that place.  The obsession that these absolutely need to be people coming with media or “communications” baggage is in fact just that… an obsession, which reaps little if any real benefit if not balanced with other attributes.

As already said, simply throwing money at a problem, simply presenting a glitzy new programme schedule, or studio or news bulletin backdrop sets, all of this does not – and will never mean – that a needed cultural change has taken place.  That indeed is the essence of PBS’s big problem, one of culture… indeed the end of former PBS chairman Tonio Portugese’s chairmanship period accentuated this totally, even though even then there were still far too many square pegs in round holes!