OPINION: This Amateurishness Can’t Go On

Scenario No. 1: The Floriana vs Gzira MFA League match on October 16th, 2021. Player Jefferson is on the ground, slightly but obviously injured.  Tv sports commentator Mark Attard imparts to all viewers this literary platitudinous gem: “Jidher li ghandu problem fizici” – He seems to have “physical” problems!!!!!  Isn’t it bl***y obvious to all viewers?

Scenario No. 2:  The Malta vs Slovakia international on November 14th, 2021.  Post-match comment by usual touchline commentator Robert Busuttil to National Team Coach, Devis Mangia: “In the first half you suffered three goals and in the second you were down to nine men” (as if it hadn’t been bl***y obvious to us all for the whole match!). Intelligent reply by Mangia:  “Yes… (eyebrows movement!)… yes, OK, OK.”  And full stop!

These shenanigans by the TVM sports news staff at PBS simply cannot be allowed to go on.  These people are all the time showing that all that interests them is being in front of the camera and/or behind a microphone.  The endless linguistic inanities which continuously keep sprouting out of their mouths, in reality, are only serving to make ever more irate those amongst us who are always attentive to the use of language, content, and style.

This of course is one of the big problems with PBS in Malta generally. It is a broadcasting organization that is continuously looking always only INWARDS and AT ITSELF. IT produces, IT employs, and IT then decides on what and who IT retains or removes.  It simply shirks away from anything or anyone who can tell it where it simply has people who are not up to par. By “par” here is unashamedly understood the standards and sorts of personalities that discerning viewers and listeners – those many people in Malta who are not continuously drudgingly tuned to this station – watch, listen and follow on foreign Italian, British and other stations.

The Minister within OPM, Carmelo Abela, under who this supposedly national service falls, absolutely needs to be humble and accept that most of what he did to/at PBS recently has only resulted in cosmetic consequence. The simple rebranding of the name of what was TVM 2 was over and done within a matter of days and just as equally forgotten. Because standards remained as low as before. The PBS newsroom is still jampacked by people who are, yes, always “there”, i.e. within the building at Guardamangia, when, as journalists, they should be spending more of their working time out on the streets, and in the venues where news is happening, and not behind glitzily set up desks wearing off fashion apparel and makeup, surfing the web for their next story.

Where is the restricted writing and researching staff at PBS? Where, and with whom, is enquiring and consulting being done about standards, to see what is the outside-to-inside (and not inside-to-inside) serious view of the station and its products and people, and this from knowing and critical persons?  Why is it that foreign stations structure their evenings’ prime-time products on a a two-tier ‘prima’ and ‘seconda serata‘ basis, with programmes replete enough with content and duration that hold viewers for more than one-and-a-half hours, whilst PBS seems to be unable to create stuff which lasts longer than 45 minutes at the most? 

PBS absolutely needs to go back to the drawing board, and not rebrand itself but recreate itself.  Amateurishness and sheer ignorance must be weeded out. The help of foreign professionals (preferably not British!) is needed very badly at the creative and production levels, and Malta’s Foreign Affairs Minister might in fact do well to start enquiring with some local foreign embassies here in what ways they can help to get us out of this current deplorable standards mess.

Sheer ignorance, mediocrity, and amateurishness must not continue to prevail!