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Malta’s Cultural Bodies Urged To Follow Book Council Example Of Elections To Avoid Government Interference

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Malta’s national cultural entities should hold elections to appoint new members on their boards so that such roles are not appointed by ministers, National Book Council chief executive Mark Camilleri concluded today.

And he’s leading by example: holding an election for his own position.

Camilleri issued a statement this morning where he said the Council should be elected by the industry itself – publishers, writers, illustrators, book shops and publishers – not by politicians.

Camilleri said that since his appointment in 2013, he turned this important entity from a voluntary organisation with no funds to a professional institution with substantial funding which earned the respect of many in Malta and abroad.

“I want to keep serving for three more years and keep implementing the mandate we have according to the Congress of Writers, even if my superiors in government do not necessarily agree with this mandate.”

“It could be that there are people who fear writers and publishers having such strength in our economic and civil society,” he warned, as he asked for support to reconfirm him as chief executive.

“For this to happen, I am announcing an election for this position in which I will contest. The position can be contested by anyone who is a writer or publisher. I believe the winning candidate should have the unanimous support of publishers and writers.”

“I fully believe that cultural entities of the government cannot be led by government appointees. It must be the artists and the members of the cultural sector who decide who is best to lead entities addressed to their sector,” he said.

He called for the heads of all cultural agencies of government to follow his example and build democratic structures in their entities and call for an election of their position.

Details about the election will be made public in the coming days.

Many of Malta’s cultural agencies are run by political appointees, most notably the Valletta Cultural Agency which is run by Jason Micallef, who is also the head of Labour’s TV station One.

Do you agree that cultural agencies should be appointed by artists not government ministers?

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Christian is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who founded Lovin Malta, a new media company dedicated to creating positive impact in society. He is passionate about justice, public finances and finding ways to build a better future.

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