Saturday, 20th February 2010 – 12:03CET

Protest against censorship on Wednesday

A protest to convince Parliament to reform “outdated and theocratic” censorship laws is being held by the Front kontra c-Censura on Wednesday at 5 p.m., starting from City Gate in Valletta to Parliament.

The organisation told a news conference this morning that it had invited all political organisations to join since it believed that censorship affected everyone. It was very concerned that several bodies, including the University Students’ Council and the Studenti Demokristjani Maltin, refused to take part.

The Front pointed out that freedom of expression was not freedom to hate so they were against any form of hate speech, such as racism and sexism.

Spokesman Ingram Bondin said that last year there were six cases of censorship, the most obvious and controversial being the Realta short story Li Tkisser Sewwi, the Nadur Carnvial and the play Stitching.

A common factor in all was the systematic repression of any form of art that did not agree with conservative morals.

The protest, he said, was being organised to fight outdated laws on censorship which carried harsh punishment, including a prison term. The people should have the freedom to say something shocking and not be silenced. This was even allowed by the European Court of Human Rights which in a judgement said that freedom of speech could be shocking.

Mr Bondin said the organisation would like to see the law which did not allow one to artistically criticise the official religion of the country repealed.

It would also like to see the Board of Stage and Film Classification, which had the power to censor plays and films from appearing and being held, lose this power.

It wanted the removal of a clause in the Press Act which said that one could not publish anything that criticised public morals and it called for an amendment to the law removing the powers of the Broadcasting Authority to censor adult programmes aired after 9 p.m.

The organisation said it was also calling for the decriminalisation of pornography. The Pornography Act called for the setting up of a committee whose role was to define pornography. This committee has not met since 1975 and it should be removed.

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