‘Front Kontra c-Censura’ to call for updated censure laws
by Chiara Bonello

http://www.independent.com.mt/news.asp?newsitemid=101967

Front Kontra c-Censura will be holding a protest against outdated censure laws on Wednesday, leaving City Gate at 5pm and making its way to St George’s Square, opposite The Palace, in a bid to convince Parliament to bring outdated censure laws up to date.

A spokesman for the organisation said the issue affected everyone, not just the select few, which was why the organisation was concerned that SDM and KSU had not joined the Front.

Urging both organisations to face reality, they also invited Members of Parliament to attend the protest to express their disapproval of the current censure laws.

It was important to note that freedom of speech was in no way synonymous with the right to incite hatred, for example through sexist or racist comments.

The organisation pointed out that in 2009 alone there had been at least six cases of censorship, the foremost among them being the banning of the play Stitching, the Nadur carnival and the banning of magazine Ir-Realtà, after it published an article entitled Li Tkisser Sewwi.

An additional thing one found, another spokesman said, was the systematic repression of any art that does not fit in with a certain narrow-minded morality. The possibility of facing a prison sentence made no sense in today’s day and age in a country like Malta.

It should be the choice of the individual whether to watch or read something, but it should not be imposed. While it is fine to call Li Tkisser Sewwi obscene, or say that one does not like it, it is not right to stop others from reading it.

The organisation put forward a number of proposals, which they feel would improve the situation in Malta. Firstly, referring to what happened in Nadur, the law which forbids artistic criticism of the country’s official religion should be removed.

Secondly, the classification board’s power to censor theatrical productions has to be done away with. Furthermore, the organisation is proposing the repeal of the press law, which states that nothing that offends public morals can be printed.

Considering that what constituted offending public morals was so subjective, and a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights stating that freedom of speech included the right to say things that might shock, this law did not make much sense.

The right of the Broadcasting Authority to censor programmes after 9pm also made little sense, the spokesman said, as foreign stations offered such programmes, rendering local stations less competitive.

Finally, the organisation said a committee had been set up specifically by the Pornography Act to define what constituted pornography, but the last time this had met was sometime around 1975 and was therefore redundant. It was time to broaden the definition of what constituted pornography, he said.

Front Kontra c-Censura is made up of the youth forum of Alternattiva Demokratika, Labour Youth Forum, the Realta Collective, General Workers Union Youths, Unifaun Theatre Productions, Moviment Graffiti, Zminijietna, MOVE, Pulse, the Junior College Students Council and the National Youth Council.

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