Were any of you marching against censorship tonight? Or were you just curling up, waiting for the football to get going on TV? Or perhaps merely nodding at the comments that pepper the mainstream media about the issue?
It’s bizarre that we’re still talking about censorship in 2010 in an EU country. But that’s just the way things have panned out over the past 24 months or so. A play was banned; a magazine normally distributed on the university campus was similarly banned and the editor reported to the police; the normally raucous Nadur Carnival was more muted than usual following veiled threats that the police wished to ‘vet the lyrics’ of songs and harass people dressed in religious garb. And the debate rumbles on, online, with the Front against Censorship and offline. There’s more material here.
We’re not getting on any soap box or bandwagon. We’ve identified doing away with archaic censorship laws on our 2010 wish list. We don’t know if a march is what it takes to get people to resolve many lacunae in archaic legislation or even if the issue will get hijacked by groups with their own social or political agendas.
But the censorship issue – and particularly the censorship of all things ‘cultural’ – needs to be addressed and resolved quickly if the rumblings about a police state, religious zealots or high-handed tactics are to be permanently quelled.
The trouble with small places is that sometimes it is all too easy for someone in a position of power to lever on some long-forgotten piece of legislation to exert control. Malta needs to wake up to the 21st century, repeal its censorship laws and put some trust into the maturity of its citizens.
Photo: Gethin Thomas