Left: LF2018 CEO Tjeerd van Bekkum, Right: Valletta 2018 chairman Jason Micallef
Valletta 2018 chairman Jason Micallef’s derogatory Facebook comments against assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have come back to haunt him in a big way.
The Foundation for the Dutch towns of Leuuwarden and Fryslan, which are sharing the position of European Capital of Culture with Valletta this year, has confirmed it won’t send any representatives to Malta until the Valletta 2018 Foundation distances itself from Micallef’s comments.
“LF2018 believes that V18 representatives have put the values of a European Capital of Future under pressure as a result of the way in which the V18 organisation has presented itself in the social media regarding the journalist,” LF2018 CEO Tjeerd van Bekkum said. “The decision by LF2018 to temporarily freeze administrative contacts was taken after broad consultation at both national and European level, and after various signals were given to the organisation of V18.”
“As long as V18 fails to distance itself from the offensive tone which particularly relates to the relatives of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the decision remains in place. The ideology of a European Capital of Culture should not be discredited. It is our responsibility, as well as that of other European Capitals of Culture, to defend these values.”
Jason Micallef has found himself under increasing pressure to step down from his position in recent days. Some of the most prominent writers in the world have urged the European Commission to investigate his derogatory Facebook posts and 100 local artists recently signed a petition to the Prime Minister calling for Micallef’s instant resignation.