We Stand with Jason Micallef.

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The people of Malta want to express their concern with regard to the petition signed by around 130 artists and cultural administrators asking the Prime Minister for the resignation of the Valletta 2018 Foundation’s Chairman.

We are in agreement that freedom of speech is an important value in society. Indeed a number of the petitioning artists have been openly critical of the Foundation’s Chairman over the years, yet - because he himself believes in this democratic right - they collaborated and still collaborate with the Foundation on various projects. Mr Micallef was always keen to work with artists hailing from all backgrounds, as well as cultural and community leaders and individuals who wanted to participate in making 2018 a unique experience for Valletta and for the country.

Furthermore, we believe that the Culture and Arts sector in Malta does not consist solely of those individuals signing the petition, but also of other creatives, artists and practitioners, as well as of the audiences themselves. It is important to remember that the general public is a major stakeholder of Valletta 2018 - indeed, tens of thousands have attended the Foundation’s events, with interest and enthusiasm since the start of the year.

Valletta is also benefiting greatly from Mr Micallef’s constant work over the past 5 years, and from his unwavering conviction in the importance of the European Capital of Culture title for Valletta’s regeneration. Indeed, the general public greatly appreciates these efforts and the unprecedented cultural and infrastructural investment in Valletta that has taken place through Mr Micallef’s unceasing efforts.

Rather than a genuine exercise in freedom of speech, the petition that was presented to the Prime Minister of Malta is more akin to an expression of hate directed at the Chairman of the Valletta 2018 Foundation.

The requested resignation would bring about useless havoc at such an important moment in Valletta’s Capital of Culture year, and would seriously jeopardise its successful continuation. It would also negatively impinge on the legacy of this initiative, which Mr Micallef has diligently worked on in the past 5 years.

We therefore support Mr Micallef and his work, and look forward to seeing him achieve further success for Valletta as European Capital of Culture in 2018 and also beyond.


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