MEPs have called on the European Commission to demand the immediate removal of Jason Micallef from the post of chairman of Valletta 2018 Capital of Culture.
Micallef has recently come under fire for mocking slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and was condemned by a collective of internationally acclaimed authors, including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan.
In a letter to the commission president Jean Claude Juncker, 72 MEPs described Micallef’s behaviour as undignified and unacceptable and said “the vilification of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, even after her assassination, and the calls for the clearing of the memorial in her tribute in Valletta and for banners demanding for justice to be removed are actions that we consider incompatible with those of an official that represents the European Capital of Culture.”
Taking note of the letter sent by PEN International and endorsed by 250 international authors expressing “outrage” at Micallef’s behaviour, the MEPs said that a few hours after being chastised, “Micallef proceeded to continue with his outbursts on social media and ordered banners organised by Maltese civil society calling for justice to be removed.”
In the letter published on Monday, PEN international said since Caruana Galizia death, “we are outraged by the comments of Jason Micallef, Chairman of the Valletta 2018 Foundation, and as such the Capital of Culture’s official representative in Malta. Since her assassination, Micallef has repeatedly and publicly attacked and ridiculed Daphne Caruana Galizia on social media, ordered the removal of banners calling for justice for her death and called for her temporary memorial to be cleared.”
They added that this is far from appropriate behaviour for an official designated to represent the European Capital of Culture, “and in fact serves to further the interests of those trying to prevent an effective and impartial investigation into Caruana Galizia’s death.”