16 November 2007For the third consecutive year, Din l-Art Helwa has presented a Heritage Journalism Award. The aim of this Award is to encourage the written press to focus on articles or writing campaigns that underline the vital contribution of Malta’ built cultural heritage to our history and culture.

The panel looks for articles which highlight the significance and importance of our built cultural heritage – its historic, aesthetic and social importance, and its vital contribution to our identity and quality of life, together with the crucial need to safeguard it.

The criteria for the Award scheme are therefore based on the quality of the work published and the clarity of text and communication of the spirit of the issues to raise or increase public awareness.

The panel of judges this year included Malcolm Naudi and Mario Schiavone from the Institute of Journalism, and Philip Zammit Briffa, as Chairman, with Simone Mizzi and Martin Scicluna from Din l-Art Helwa. The judges were delighted at the high standard and wide variety of this year’s thirteen entries – seven written in Maltese and six in English. His Excellency President Emeritus, Dr Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, kindly agreed to present the Award.

Din l-Art Helwa thanks the sponsors of this Award, the Tumas Fenech Foundation for Education in Journalism, who once again generously stepped forward to support this Award scheme, as well as the Institute of Maltese Journalism, with whom Din l-Art Helwa is associated on this Award scheme. Both the Institute and the Tumas Fenech Foundation formed part of the judging panel.

The articles in this year’s entries ranged from campaigning polemics decrying the loss of our precious and vulnerable built heritage to carefully researched insights into aspects of Malta’s history and cultural heritage not known before. Although they inevitably varied in style and content, they all, in their own way, shone a light on aspects of our built heritage which are special to us Maltese and which it is vital for us to cherish and protect.

The panel of judges congratulated all the journalists concerned for their entries, and chose one winner of the Silver Medal and awarded one Diploma to an article worthy of public recognition.

The winner of the Din l-Art Helwa Silver Medal Award for Heritage Journalism for 2007 was Julia Farrugia of the newspaper Illum for her article entitled ‘L-Akbar Belt f’Malta’. This article takes a charming, original and evocative look at the story of the historic Addolorata Cemetery which was opened in 1862 and contains the tombs of 280,000 people. The article deals with its history, the archives and documentation, as well as the planned expansion and the vandalism that occurs there from time to time. It also mentions the firm need for additional funding to maintain the cemetery from the ravages of time.

The winner of the Diploma was Lino Bugeja – a previous Silver Medal winner last year – for his article entitled ‘The Elgin Marbles in Malta – an outburst of neoclassical architecture in early 19th century Malta’, which appeared in The Sunday Times. The panel felt that this was a most interesting and admirably researched article on Malta’s unusual association with these historic sculptures, and another example of Malta’s brush with history and with important events whose reverberations are still felt to this day.

In his concluding address, Martin Scicluna, Vice-President of Din l-Art Helwa, thanked the media, especially the written press, for consistent and unstinting support for everything that Din l-Art Helwa stands for. Din l-Art Helwa greatly values that support.