Removal of Manuel Cuschieri’s Labor radio show angers diehards

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The surprise cancellation of a Labor stalwart’s radio show has not gone down well with some supporters who say they are being sidelined.

Manuel Cuschieri’s regular radio show ‘Linja Diretta’ has been axed from the Labor Party’s ONE radio, with some PL supporters wondering what prompted the move.

Cuschieri’s show was popular with the Labor base and he has been a regular on party radio and television for about 25 years. It was canceled last month and Cuschieri announced it himself on Facebook.

“It was not my decision but a decision that was communicated to me. I am still available for the Labor Party. I was ready to continue offering my services, but I can’t do anything. I’ll stop there for now and if I feel the need to give you more details I will,” he wrote.

“In the meantime, thank you for your support and attention and I apologize for not meeting. The time has come for the next step. I will keep you posted.”

Since then, he has broadcast his show on Facebook.

Party insiders who spoke to Malta weather say the decision to fire Cuschieri, a former PL president, was taken after he repeatedly defended controversial former prime minister Joseph Muscat.

Sources say Cuschieri’s defense of Muscat put him at odds with Robert Abela’s administration, which is keen to open a new chapter and leave Muscat in the past.

Cuschieri’s message sparked a wave of disappointment on social media from the Labor rank and file who seem unhappy.

Among them was Labor delegate Joseph Scerri who posted on Facebook the decision to remove Cushieri and lamented the sidelining of “real Labour”.

Jason Micallef, the president of the party’s media arm, eventually took to Facebook to distance himself from the decision to cancel Cuschieri’s show.

“I had no part in this decision. I was not even consulted. All political programs on One Radio and One TV have always been under the leadership of the Labor Party. Theirs is the final say on broadcasts, including presenters,” Micallef wrote.

“Cuschieri is one of One’s best communicators of all time. He was there in good times and bad from the very beginning. He worked hard for what he believed in, his labor principles. And he never asked for any form of payment for the programs. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Micallef wrote.

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