The household television name Xarabank is familiar with most who live in Malta and know it as the current affairs programme which treats a variety of topics. Following a twenty-three-year stint, it has been recently announced that the programme will no longer take place every Friday on TVM. Needless to say, many were shocked following this announcement, as the programme was one which enjoyed a large following. Many are in fact questioning this decision, as to why the national broadcaster would deem the programme not worthy of continuation when it is one of the most followed.
Commenting on the recent development, producer and presenter Peppi Azzopardi defended his television show, arguing that it was never guilty of imbalance. He also went on to add that the decision has created an element of sadness due to the potential of what it could achieve. He further commented that if this was a swipe aimed at silencing him, it would not be the case.
This decision sparked a comment from the Chairman of the Public Broadcasting Services, Tonio Portughese, who emphasised that the decision was not motivated by politics, but was an attempt to freshen up the schedule. He highlighted that renewing the schedule yearly was part of the broadcaster’s duty. He added that a number of producers apply and that all proposals are analysed.
Peppi Azzopardi expressed that he had no idea as to why the show was cancelled, especially when considering the high viewership it enjoyed. He also admitted that he was always biased in favour of people who were in minority groups and were facing struggles in life. Most of the social problems which faced Xarabank never aired on the show, as people would not be exploited for publicity if they can be helped quietly.
Xarabank is no stranger to controversy and in its first programme it had featured a homosexual man who spoke about how normal his life was with his partner. This sparked outrage as people wanted to boycott the show, asking for Azzopardi’s resignation. He highlights that the show came with its own difficulties as the status quo was challenged several times.
The show was a leader in terms of political discussions, current affairs and several other topics which were in the public limelight. What are your views in relation to its removal? Is it a good move to remove one of the shows that was so ingrained in the Maltese identity? Or was a change necessary now after all these years? Let us know in the comments section below.