Front Kontra c-Censura call for ‘freedom of expression’
by Chiara Bonello
The call was for freedom of expression, as the varied crowd which gathered to join the Front Kontra c-Censura in their protest against the outdated censorship laws made its way towards the parliament building.
Those present included Labour MPs Owen Bonnici and Evarist Bartolo, local TV personality Lou Bondi and Andrew Borg Cardona.
Organisation spokesman Ingram Bondin said he assumed that the crowd present was in agreement on a number of points, namely that society had to be more tolerant and that it was not right for some people to have power over what others read, see or think.
The organisation was taking a stand, he said, and they were very pleased with the positive turnout. It was clear that the Maltese people were not, as they were sometimes accused of being, passive and unwilling to take action to fight for their fundamental rights.
The Front was proposing the removal of the law forbidding religious satire, doing away with the classification board’s power to censor theatrical productions and repealing the law which states that nothing which offends public morals can be printed.
Moreover the Broadcasting Authority should not be allowed to censor programmes after 9pm, particularly as foreign stations offered such programmes and the definition of what constituted pornography had to be broadened.
Another spokesman for the organisation said that the penalties for such behaviour were obscene, and not the stories being written.
Since unable to attend, local poet George Peresso, said that he felt compelled to join in the protest, as he was afraid of the darkness within which Malta might remain, if society remained frightened of dialogue.
Censorship, he said, was the tool of those who were impotent and who did not believe in the strength of their own argument. Some recent articles and blogs, he said, were more preoccupying than these stories.
Author Immanuel Mifsud said a group of some 90 local writers and artists had formed a group, Group 29, which was backing the Front in its condemnation of censorship. Back in 2002, he said, a group from the Council of Europe had already condemned censorship in Malta.
Those forming part of the Front Kontra c-Censura include the youth forum of Alternattiva Demokratika, Labour Youth Forum, the Realtà Collective, the GWU youths, Unifaun Theatre Productions, the Graffiti Movement, Zminijietna, MOVE – Progressive Students, Pulse, the Junior College Students Council and the National Youth Council.