The Malta Independent 17 May 2021, Monday

Head of National Book Council calls for re-election to stop government intervention

Bettina Borg Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 15:02 Last update: about 2 months ago

Mark Camilleri, Head of the National Book Council (NBC), has called for an election of the head of the council in a bid to stop government from selecting a candidate for the post.

Camilleri called for the election himself in a statement issued on Wednesday morning, where he said that voters can show their confidence in him by directly voting him back into the position for a three-year tenure.

He has called for the election to compel the government to respect his mandate according to the National Congress of Writers.


"The government and my superiors are not necessarily agreeing with this mandate", he wrote. "This could be because there are people who are afraid that writers and publishers have influence in our economic and civil society".

He said that the NBC is an apolitical entity that focuses on bookselling, growing publication in Malta and improving the quality of literary work in Malta.

"I strongly believe that the government's cultural entities cannot be led by government appointees", he wrote. "It needs to be the artists and those working in the cultural sector that decide on who is the best to lead the entity that addresses their sector".

In the case that Camilleri is re-elected as Head of the NBC, the government will have a greater obligation to implement his legal mandate through the Congress of Writers. Should he not be re-elected, Government has the right to choose another Head to replace him.

Anyone can contest for the position, so long as they are a writer or a publisher, Camilleri said.

He concluded his statement by urging others serving top positions in the cultural sector to follow his example and hold elections to confirm confidence in their respective roles.

Camilleri has been the Head of NBC since his election in 2013. This is not the first time he has taken a stance against the government.

Last January, he spoke out against the government hosting the Cirque du Soleil at the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC) in November 2021, instead of the Malta Book Festival. The festival is traditionally held at the MCC each November.


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