Maltese rock band Brikkuni have been dropped from the Farsons Beer Festival by the beverage company due to Facebook comments lead singer Mario Vella posted about the prime minister’s wife, reported Malta Today on 27 June 2016.
Vella’s post was covered extensively by the prime minister’s party media company which asked if Farsons would react to the comments. The company responded that it dropped the band, stating: “We took the necessary steps to safeguard our company’s position”.
Attention to the posts also arose via the prime minister aide Glenn Bedingfield’s influential blog that targets party critics.
Chairman of the National Book Council and anti-censorship activist Mark Camilleri criticised the company’s decision on his Facebook page, citing the aide’s and state’s pressuring role in particular:
Vella was explicit and rude, an ignorant boor’s comment. But I was surprised that Farsons dropped Brikkuni after Bedingfield’s blogpost. Bedingfield must understand that what he writes carries the implicit weight of the State behind him because of his role. Whether you agree with Vella or not, this was state censorship in a complex, yet effective way.
A day later, rock band Mistura rejected an offer to play at the festival in solidarity with Brikkuni, Malta Today reported on 28 June 2016, stating: “We are uncomfortable with benefitting from the aftermath of political pressure that was placed on people and a private company, which we consider unacceptable”.
Brikkuni’s songs often target the establishment and Vella is known for his abrasive social media commentary. Vella was blocked from Facebook after complaints were filed to the social media company.
Photo from Brikkuni’s Facebook page
» Malta Today – 27 June 2016:
Farsons drops Brikkuni from festival over frontman’s abrasive Facebook post
» Malta Today – 28 June 2016:
Rock band rejects Farsons appearance in support of banned Brikkuni