Watch: “I can say all I want as long as I refrain from using foul language”

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The recently appointed Education Minister and the National Book Council chairperson have come to an agreement that the latter is free to express his opinion as long as he refrains from using foul language.

Following an online spat with the lawyer of the murder suspect Yorgen Fenech, National Book Council chairperson Mark Camilleri was asked to resign from his post by the Education Ministry. The decision was rescinded the next day after an agreement was reached between Camilleri and Minister Caruana.

Fielding questions from the press on Friday, Camilleri explained that since Minister Caruana has only been recently appointed to the post, she wanted to set her own terms of references to which he agreed.

Justyne-Caruana-Frank-Fabri-Mark-Camilleri
Photo: Miguela Xuereb

This transpired during a press event in which an agreement was signed to regulate the irregular and illegal use of reprography and digital use of books which incurs material damages to the book industry.

Camilleri, who was approached by lawyer Juliette Galea after expressing support for the public inquiry to continue beyond its deadline in its search for truth, stated that he still believes in what he has written.

“Of course! I believe in what I said,” he told reporters on Friday when asked if he held the same opinion on the public inquiry following this brief episode.

On the other hand, Minister Caruana insisted that call for his resignation was carried out on the basis of foul language used and not on his comments in relation to the public inquiry.

“I received screenshots of “colourful” language which I felt was offensive and unbecoming of someone to say or write in public. I spoke to him. He acknowledged that it was unbecoming of him. But today, we’re here to show that we have learnt from the episode and we are moving forward,” Minister Caruana said.

She added that the decision was taken on the basis of the language that was used. “I was unaware of the context. As a Minister for Education, I need to ensure that we set a good example,” Caruana added.

Replying to another question, Caruana said that there no hard feelings between her and Camilleri.

Background:

On Thursday, the Education Ministry rescinded its decision to call for Camilleri’s resignation following an online spat between the chairperson and lawyer Juliette Galea.

Galea who appears for murder suspect Yorgen Fenech accused of complicity in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, approached Camilleri after he expressed support for the public inquiry into the murder with unsolicited advice.

Galea shared her recent letter to the Council of Europe on behalf of Fenech relating to the public inquiry.

“Here is the link to the letter. Read it all. It explains how a public inquiry should be done and why it’s not judicial. You’re saying stupid things,” she told Camilleri.

“Who said that the public inquiry was judicial?” Camilleri asked before advising her, in colourful language, exactly what she should do with the letter

Galea called him stupid, and Camilleri proceeded to publish the entire exchange on his Facebook wall.

The post was subsequently taken down by Facebook and Camilleri was given a 24-hour ban.

Permanent Secretary Francis Fabri then had asked Camilleri to resign. The latter said that he would not and instead called for a congress to elect the chairperson, making it clear that his fate should be decided by its members.

Earlier this year, Caruana was forced to resign over her estranged husband’s links to Yorgen Fenech. Silvio Valletta, who was Deputy Police Commissioner, travelled with the murder suspect at a time when Fenech was already a person of interest in Caruana Galizia’s assassination.

Videos: Miguela Xuereb