Owen Bonnici, the Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government in Malta, will visit Leeuwarden on 12 July in an effort to resolve an impasse between the European Capitals of Culture.
Translation by Traci White
In May, the LF2018’s organisers made known that they would not be sending any representatives to Malta until their fellow Capital of Culture organisers distanced themselves from offensive remarks made about Daphne Caruana Galizia. Galizia, a Maltese journalist, was murdered in 2017.
Bonnici has been in contact with the event organisers and regional politicians following significant political pressure from the Netherlands. Like Leeuwarden, Valletta is also a European capital of culture in 2018, and there are multiple projects that the two cities were meant to be collaborating on over the course of the year. The Leeuwarder Courant reports that Bonnici’s visit is an effort to repair the relationship between the two regions.
Jason Michallef, the organiser of Malta’s capital of culture events, has made disparaging comments about the late investigative journalist and opposed creating a monument in her memory. LF2018 director Tjeerd van Bekkum initially declined to make a statement about Michallef’s conduct, an approach which led to further outcry, including criticism from Galizia’s son Matthew.
In response, the LF2018 organisers released a statement reaffirming their belief that “artistic freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of the press all serve the greater good and no topic should be considered too taboo to discuss. LF2018 upholds these values and opposes all forms of violence that threaten these freedoms.”