The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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David Walliams was paid €120,000 to host Malta Film Awards

Monday, 12 February 2024, 17:58 Last update: about 5 months ago

British comedian David Walliams was paid €120,000 by the Malta Film Commission in order to host the 2022 Malta Film Awards, the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation revealed on Monday.

The publication brought to an end a two-year legal battle between the Foundation and the Film Commission as the latter refused to divulge the information.

Earlier in the day, the Tourism Minister had said that the details of the payment will be given in "the coming days". The Daphne Foundation anticpated the minister by disclosing the amount.

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A court at the end of January however rejected an appeal filed by the Malta Film Commission to deny the Foundation access to information regarding payments made to an entertainer for the 2022 Malta Film Awards.

The case concerned a freedom of information request to obtain the amount of public money paid to David Walliams for participating in the 2022 Malta Film Awards. In the freedom of information request, the Malta Film Commission had been asked for all invoices it received from Walliams, or his agents or associated companies or individuals, or on their behalf, in connection with the event.

The Film Awards came under the spotlight for its glitz and glamour, with suggestions that the event had gone far over its budget – a budget which was already more than what the Malta Film Commission gives out to local filmmakers in grants.

The initial budget for the event was 400,000, but Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo – under whose remit the Film Commission falls – had said that 1.3 million was spent on Malta Film Week as a whole.

Sharing the cost of Walliams’ engagement on Facebook, the Foundation said that his engagement made up for 30% of the original budget for the event, and nearly 10% of what was actually paid.

The Foundation said that one question still remains: where was the rest of the 1.3 million spent?

“We call on Government to be completely transparent with its spending and make access to information less arduous,” the Foundation said.

The commission had denied a Freedom of Information request submitted by Times of Malta for details on the cost of the awards. 

It also denied a Freedom of Information request filed by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation specifically requesting payments made to Walliams. In the rejection letter, the film commission had cited a legal clause that the requested documents were subject to professional privilege and that their disclosure would amount to breach of confidence.

The foundation reported the issue to the Information and Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC) which ruled in its favour, leading to an appeal by the commission before the Data Protection Tribunal, which upheld the IDPC ruling.

The IDPC said that the confidentiality clause in the agreement with Walliams could not be used to prevent disclosure of the amount he was paid and the Malta Film Commission had not attempted to explain or substantiate its claim that disclosing the requested invoice would prejudice its affairs or those of Walliams.

Following the Data Protection Commissioner’s ruling, the Film Commission took the matter to the civil court, asking it to annul the ruling and revoke the IDPC decision. Yet, the court rejected the film commission's second appeal, ordering the commission to release the information.

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