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     Home > Culture and Society  >  2014-03-22 15:54:30
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Vatican Radio and Malta’s PBS bring Pope’s voice closer to people

Rome, 22 March 2014: Vatican Radio has signed a radio production and broadcasting agreement with Malta’s Public Broadcasting Services (PBS), the EU country’s national radio and television broadcaster. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Director General of Vatican Radio, signed the accord last week in Valletta together with PBS Board Chairman Tonio Portughese. The agreement between the two long-time members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will permit technical cooperation, the exchange of programming and archive material, and the training of personnel in the field of broadcasting and telecommunications.

Vatican Radio, Tonio Portughese recalled, is currently the coordinator of the smaller states like Malta that are members of the EBU and works on behalf of their interests and rights in a milieu of more imposing European broadcasters with much bigger portfolios.

Though a small country, Malta’s population of 420,000 is overwhelmingly Catholic. Their connection with the Vatican and the Pope is essential for them. “There are very close relations…it’s a very active Catholic country”, said Portughese adding there are “high expectations” that Pope Francis will pay a visit to Malta, following in the footsteps of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI as well as of St. Paul who brought the faith to the island nation after his shipwreck there almost two thousand years ago.

While the Maltese wait to see whether a papal visit will be in the cards, the accord with Vatican Radio, said Portughese, formalizes an important collaboration that has been on-going for some time, bringing the Pope’s voice closer to the people of Malta.

The PBS Chairman said that “the agreement is already yielding results because every Sunday at noon we are transmitting the live broadcast from St. Peter’s of the Angelus by Pope Francis. And this is very well considered by a wide cross-section of Maltese people, people in old peoples’ homes, people in hospitals, but also in private residences. So this is one step already which is very important for us to have this live transmission every Sunday.”

“Another area which is important to us as well is the possibility to have access to the eighty year old archives of Radio Vatican. This is a gold mine for us and a fact, also here we have a first important result through this collaboration: Radio Vatican has just passed on to us the Radio Message of July 1964 by Pope John XXIII addressed to the Maltese people” on the occasion of celebrations marking the 19th centenary of St. Paul’s shipwreck on Malta. “And this includes an exhortation,” Portughese added, “an appeal to the Maltese people to protect and nurture their Christian faith and also a blessing in the Maltese language. This is an historical document which we are already using on Radio Malta, also analyzing it, having comments both by our Archbishop Msgr. Paul Cremona and by the Vicar General…So this is again another important point.”

“The third aspect,” Portughese continued, “ from Monday through Friday at 8:05 o’clock on the Radio Malta, the national radio station, we broadcast what is called Vatican View Point (produced by Vatican Radio’s English Service). It follows immediately after the BBC’s international news from London.”
source: VR Eng


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