The government this afternoon announced its intention to carry out a major overhaul of the much-criticised censorship laws affecting stage performances and films.

A three-week public consultation process has been launched.

Tourism and Culture Minister Mario de Marco said the new proposed laws fulfilled the aspirations of the artistic community. He regretted that the current laws may have failed some people in the past.

He explained that the proposed amendments will move towards a system of self-regulation, whereby the producer/director and in some instances, the venue, will be responsible for setting the age classification of a performance.

The amendments also propose that the cinema and stage regulations will be transferred from the police laws to the law which regulates the Malta Council for the Arts.

The Film and Stage Classification Board will be abolished but there will be a Theatre Guidance Board which will publish age classification guidelines and suggest criteria to help producers take their own decisions.

The new board will also receive and discuss complaints if patrons feel that a production does not match the rating given to it.  Should the board uphold the request, the board will recommend a new rating to the producer and he will be required to advertise it along with his own rating so that the people can be duly informed of what the board considers to be an appropriate rating.

With regard to cinema, a board of Film Age Classification will issue ratings, but will be obliged to give reasons for its ratings and if they are considered inadequate, an appeal may be filed.

Adrian Buckle, the producer of the banned play Stitching, was present for the announcement, held at St James Cavalier and thanked the minister for his decision. He said the play would be staged after the new regulations came into force.

Full details of the proposals can be found at

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