Censorship in Malta

Censorship in Malta

Remember BinaBean’s article on UK censorship? For student magazine editors, video artists and shop owners it’s looking pretty bad in Malta…

While people were enjoying watching the play ‘Stitching’ by Anthony Nielson at the Edinburgh Festival (or indeed using their right as free-thinking citizens to walk out) the play was banned outright not so very far from the U.K on a seemingly harmless island in the middle of the Mediterranean.

There is always the danger that the media is being selective in its writing up of reality, taking out the not-so-comfortable-to-see like a cancerous lump. But what happens when authorities ban plays outright and students are arraigned with the blessing of the rector of their own university? What does this say about the authorities of such a country – arrogance or simply ignorance?

There have been many cases of censorship recently in Malta, some of which were:

Police asked a shop owner to remove naked mannequins from the shop window (which were actually being used as a display to raise awareness about trafficking). A similar case occurred in Gaza city.

A warning was given to producers of a local programme who used a cemetery for a photoshoot (Goths be warned!)

A suspended prison sentence was given to a young man for sequencing the images of the Pope and a naked woman in an artistic video.

A student newspaper was banned at the University of Malta; both the editor of the newspaper and the writer of a short story for which the student newspaper was banned are facing charges of a 6-month imprisonment and a fine.

These are, sadly, but a few examples; more can be found on the excellent website BinaBean suggested, indymedia.org (go to the Maltese section).

For those of you who may not know much about Malta, let me say this: Malta is part of the E.U and a democratic country. However, with such attacks on freedom of speech, not to mention a lack of faith in Malta’s adult population as free-thinking individuals who can criticise art without the need of intervention, we don’t seem to deserve the title of a democratic country.

As a free-thinking Mookychick, I believe that art should be free and accessible to all. As a student of philosophy I believe in the power of people to assert themselves, to choose for themselves and to choose what art will shape them and their Selves.

After all, is this not one of the most highly prized values of democracy?

Related articles:

‘Stitching’ play banned (The Guardian)

Crackdown on Maltese culture (The Guardian)

Indie news on Malta (Indymedia)

Hamas bans lingerie displays in Gaza strip (BBC)

Hamas bans lingerie displays in Gaza strip (BBC)

Mayor calls for Big Fat Willy sculpture to be removed ahead of Pope’s Malta trip (BBC)