Manuel Delia accuses Culture Minister of public deception

The Constitutional application filed by independent journalist and blogger Manuel Delia was not withdrawn. This was clarified by Delia himself following a statement by the Ministry of Culture which alleged that Delia had withdrawn the court action against Culture Minister Owen Bonnici and the Director of the Public Cleansing Department Ramon Deguara. However Delia in a statement dismissed what Bonnici said earlier and accused him of intentionally misleading the public with the statement.

On 15 September, Delia asked the Court to issue a temporary inhibitory injunction against Bonnici to prevent the dismantling of the protest banner dedicated to the assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and the flowers and candles placed at the memorial dedicated to the journalist. The court had refused Delia’s request and instead asked Bonnici for an explanation why the protest material had been removed. Bonnici did not explain himself to the court, instead the banner, flowers and candles were removed by the Cleansing Department and later deposited in Court by Bonnici.

Earlier on Wednesday lawyer Joe Brincat filed an application to be party to the case instituted by Delia against the Culture Minister and the Director of the Public Cleansing Department.

In his Constitutional application, Delia argued that the removal of the protest banner, candles and flowers was a case of censorship and was in breach of his right to freedom of expression.

The Culture Minister said that the Court did not issue a temporary injunction. This was already known, since the Court had refused Delia’s request and instead asked for an explanation from Bonnici within 10 days before scheduling a hearing.

Delia reiterated that it was the activists’ right to protest and that they shall continue seeking protection from the Court against what he termed abuse of power by the Government.