Malta-Towards Stronger Rights of Artists

Daniela Bartolo | Published on 25 Sep 2012

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In a move that is considered as a boost to freedom of expression, artists in Malta have been secured with more rights designed at discouraging self-censorship and apathy within the artistic community.

While Maltese members of the judiciary have a long history of ruling in favour of artistic expression, former practices of prosecution had led to objections by the local cultural scene on the way the law is interpreted or applied.

Proposals aimed at securing further rights for artists follow an announcement by the Maltese Government by virtue of which the onus of the classification of a film or theatrical production has been shifted on the producers themselves. Malta grants producers the freedom to classify their productions as opposed to the reliance on a national classification board favoured by a number of jurisdictions worldwide.

Furthermore, discussions are underway for the removal of criminal libel with a shift that will see libel cases in Malta being relegated to the Civil Court. In addition, police shall be required to consult the Attorney General and art specialists before prosecuting an artist over work deemed as obscene.

Discussions are underway for the issuance of guidelines intended for empowering artists to work within the frameworks of applicable laws.

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