The Labour Party has called for the setting up of a parliamentary committee to review the definition of ‘pornography’ and ‘obscenity’, after a 21 year old student editor is faces up to a maximum of nine months incarcerated for publishing a story.
In a press conference, Owen Bonnici, Labour Party spokesperson for culture and youths, said that the PL is concerned that in the 21st century a young student is being faced with a jail term following the publication of a story in a university newspaper.
Dr Bonnici explained that as it stands, criminal charges are being based on a 1975 definition of ‘pornography’ and ‘obscenity’, issued on the 15th of July 1975. These definitions should be reviewed following a number of cases on a European level, he continued.
The criminal code is being used by the authorities to suppress the arts, on the grounds certain works are being deemed as ‘pornographic’.
Dr Bonnici stated that Article 208 (5) of the criminal code gives provision for a committee, chaired by the Justice Minister and made up of four MPs nominated by the Prime Minister after consulting with the leader of the Opposition.
The aim of this committee is aimed at establishing what would be considered as‘pornographic’ and ‘obscene’ within the parameters of Article 208.
Article 208 (6) of the criminal codes gives power to the committee members to ask parliament to discuss any regulations, which the committee members do not agree upon.
The PL spokesperson pointed out that the last definition of what constitutes ‘pornographic’ and ‘obscene’ was made on the 15 th of July 1975.
In an opinion piece, Dr Bonnici said: “Labour has declared its intention of doing all it can in Parliament to see censorship in the field of theatres and films being totally abrogated and substituted with a system of age-classification.”
“If the Nationalist Government will not throw censorship out of the window by May, we will present our own Bill.”