Tanja Cilia

Freelance Writer

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These days Kim Basinger is more likely remembered for her acrimonious divorce from Alec Baldwin – as well as for filing for bankruptcy after being sued to the tune of $8 million for reneging on her promise to star in the film Boxing Helena, soon after purchasing the town of Braselton, Georgia, with a group of investors, for $20 million – than for her modelling, singing, and acting careers.
Those who did see the aforementioned film know that it was one of those Hollywood hoaxes that parade themselves as a ‘twist in the tail’ (in this case, ‘it was all a dream’)… and all of the above anecdotes amply illustrate how the media is mostly about money, and how often credibility hinges on attitude.
In fact, last week, I have received more than the usual number of irate e-mails and phone calls from people who want to know why there is no repeat of TVM‘s Tuesday night drama, Il-Kristu tal-Kerrejja. Truly, I am not the one who ought to be doing the answering; but it must be a matter of airtime not being elastic enough for TVM’s flagship drama to get a repeat. It’s not a question of drama not meriting a repeat.
Be that as it may, I am also amazed at the logic behind the workings of TVM – which has just issued a call for the winter schedule programmes statements of intent. This when the summer schedules have not yet been made available to us.
The summer schedule as usual will carry a number of re-runs and archival material. This saves the station money. Yet it is not the point at all.
Therefore, companies or individuals have to hand in blind submissions, not knowing whether their proposals will be discarded because they would bear a strong resemblance to the aforementioned archive material dug out to fill in the spaces between records and the occasional programmes that are worth watching (not more than five at last count).
Last Sunday I was taken aback to hear Norma Saliba end what turned out to be her final stint as one of the best newscasters TVM has ever had with words to that effect.
Could this have been a case of saving money by axing part-time newscasters and using only in-house staff?
Surely not; since apparently Ms Saliba was the only person whose appointment was terminated, as far as I could make out.
I contacted Ms Saliba for her side of the story, and she said that the issue had begun on the previous day when she was on duty at TVM, following a fortnight of work-related sojourn abroad.
Just before reading the signed news bulletin, she was approached by someone (not the CEO or even the news manager), and told that her services would no longer be required at PBS.
Ironically, her statement on Sunday made many people realise that she had not actually been employed as a full-time journalist with PBS at the time of her dismissal, and indeed, had not been since the beginning of this year. This is all that Ms Saliba would tell me.
I would not say it is a question of wages; for why would PBS employ any number of full-time staff if they cannot afford to pay a part-timer who costs the company less while doing a great job? Does not the last-in-first-out rule apply here?
If the reason is that only in-house journalists must henceforth be in front of the cameras, why have not the newcomers all been given an induction course in this?
I know full well that television is different from radio; but doesn’t the relevant experience they acquired in their previous jobs count?
Meanwhile, despite the occasional mangled Maltese comments spewed by the character generator and Moyra’s weird wardrobe choices, L-Akbar Bluff appears to be garnering quite a following.
For those who have never watched it, this programme has nothing to do with Call My Bluff – the Maltese version of which was Ħallini Minnek! on Radju Malta, which I sorely miss.
The first of two new programmes that will air soon is a new drama series, a whodunit with bells on, being directed by Ivan de Battista whom most people would ‘know’ as the defrocked priest in Il-Kristu tal-Kerrejja, a Horizons production for Net Television.
Lilliput Story is, of course, a continuation of Lilliput and Lilliput Submarine, on One TV. This time around, the children’s programme will be based on books and their authors. This is a Pro.motion production.
Speaking of children’s programmes, I plonked myself down for my dose of Thunderbirds a little early one time last week; and I lost count of the English words used in two programmes in the Maltese language for children. It could be that ‘handbag’ was used to some extent, to differentiate it from ‘basket’; but ‘mobile’, ‘caterpillar’, and so on surely have a Maltese equivalent.
The word yuk could not be avoided, since it was part and parcel of one of the pictures shown on screen; so inevitably it was translated as jaq which we always instruct children to avoid saying, especially in connection with food (as was the case here). In a radio programme we had ‘rodent’ given as rodjutur in Maltese; why not giddiem?
Those of us who write for children can surely come up with more age-appropriate, original stories – with a local flavour – for children, than the phonics books that were being used. That, however, is one of the side effects of sponsorship.
Incidentally, the surname of her Excellency Molly Bordonaro is spelled, and pronounced, like that, not Bordanaro or Bordinaro, according to the whims of whichever newscaster on whichever station decides to say it.
I would also suggest that some of the people on television – especially those who think they make themselves more attractive when they wear less than my petticoat – pay greater attention to their posture. Especially when they sit, bend, stand, bow, and walk… or even lean back, laughing inanely at their own silly tongue-tripping.


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This entry was posted on July 6, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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Tanja Cilia

Freelance Writer

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