The assistance of Malta’s MEPs for the removal of censorship is being sought by the Front Against Censorship which in a letter to the country’s representatives in the EU said it was very worrying that the Maltese were still not enjoying some of the most fundamental European freedoms.

The Front said that 2009 would be remembered as the year when the supposedly modern and European Maltese State escalated its actions against freedom of speech through draconian actions such as the punishment of carnival revellers for dressing up as Christ, the ban of the play Stitching, the threat of a prison sentence to a newspaper editor for publishing an erotic story and the suspended prison sentence to an artist for a visual which criticised the Catholic religion.

The Front was set up in reaction to these events and now had more than 3,800 members.

The Front said censorship on arts and entertainment went against the core European principles of liberty and freedom of expression.

“This, however, does not mean that we believe in a lawless state. On the contrary, we wholeheartedly believe that laws should be there to protect citizens, and not to be used as a force that restricts criticism and/or punishes innovative artists.

“We are humbly urging you to present this case of affairs to the European Parliament in order to raise the alarm on a European level regarding Malta's repressive and outdated censorship laws.

The Front said it was not in favour of any form of discrimination, exploitation or hate speech as defined by law and neither did it believe that the removal of censorship would allow such acts to increase unregulated.

It believed that punishing artists for being critical of the Catholic Church or banning plays for what moralists may perceive to be 'bad taste' were totally unacceptable in a European country in 2010.

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