No laws banning political satire – culture minister

Malta lived 'under illusion of prohibition' says Mario de Marco.

Mario de Marco reveals the obvious: political satire was never banned in Malta.
Mario de Marco reveals the obvious: political satire was never banned in Malta.

Tourism and culture minister Mario de Marco has burst a big bubble, if not exposed some critics to ridicule, by announcing that Malta has never had any laws prohibiting political satire during carnival.

"For seventy years, Malta has been living under an illusion of prohibition," de Marco said, claiming he researched the law with the Attorney General’s office to find not one single legal notice or subsidiary legislation that regulated in some form or other political satire in Malta.

"What everyone is referring to is a police regulation issued in the Colonial period in 1935 which prohibited the satirisation of foreign policies and issues," de Marco said, who is currently making his mark as culture minister by publicising his interest to see the return of political satire in carnival.

The 1935 police regulation states: “No one shall carry emblems, flags, or other signs relating to foreign political questions, or by any masquerade or other means make allusion to the same.”

The satirisation of politicians during carnival was still alive during the 1960s, but was gradually decimated as political tensions built up in the next decades. To this day, the Code of Police Laws contains no formal ban on political satire.

The Criminal Code however lists as contraventions the wearing of any mask or disguise - unless it is allowed by formal police order during such events as Carnival - and also prohibits, unless permitted, the wearing of any civil, naval, military or air force uniform, or any ecclesiastical habits or vestments: this last contravention had seen Nadur carnival revellers in 2009 being charged for dressing up as priests.

And yet, carnival enthusiasts who every year are occupied with building the floats for the annual parade, remain barred by the Malta Arts Council not just from partisan politics and religion, but also from football, meaning that certain music and football chants can't be played during carnival celebrations.

“So, the question is does a prohibition law exist and do we need to amend any laws? The answer is, no. We have no need for amendments because the laws don’t exist,” de Marco said.

The culture minister added that discussions will be conducted with carnival organisers for free political satire in future carnival events. “Political satire will not be censored or restricted as long as other regulations are abided by.” 

 

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Joseph Sant
And what about the regulations of the Arts Council and Carnival Regulations themselves. Or is the Honourable Minister not aware of these.... Section C of the Carnival Regulations states: "Mhux permess li jkun hemm b’xi mod temi Reliġjużi, Partiġġjani, Pornografiċi, Politiċi u ta’ kull suġġett ieħor previst skond ir-Regolamenti maħruġa mill-Kummissarju tal-Pulizija u/jew mill-istess Organizazzjoni."
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Joseph Sant
And what about the regulations of the Arts Council and Carnival Regulations themselves. Or is the Honourable Minister not aware of these.... Section C of the Carnival Regulations states: "Mhux permess li jkun hemm b’xi mod temi Reliġjużi, Partiġġjani, Pornografiċi, Politiċi u ta’ kull suġġett ieħor previst skond ir-Regolamenti maħruġa mill-Kummissarju tal-Pulizija u/jew mill-istess Organizazzjoni."
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Luke Camilleri
Bombastiku bhas-soltu! Tkellem l-Oraklu, kullhadd ibaxxi rasu! Ezatt wara il-karnival johrog bi stqarrija li tista tintuza' is-satira fil-karnival! Karnivalata wahda sirna, buzollotti u pantomimi is-sena kollha..... anki fil-karnival ta' Malta!
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Jigifieri sen'ohra nista' naghmel karru b'Gorg Pullicino qed jiekol pizza king size? Jew Dr Gonzi bid-dijadema tiela' s-sema mdawwar bl-angli? Jew Austin Gatt qieghed jimbotta t-terrapin bhal bulldozer? Jew iehor ta' Dr Gonzi bhala pupazz imdendel bl-ispag migbud minn RCC? Ahjar nibda' x-xoghol min issa!
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May I ask the Hon. Minister who kept the people living in an illusion of prohibition ? Was it not the politicians themselves to save their faces from being rediculed for some blunders they might have made. When are we going to learn to smile and have a good laugh , even at our expence. As long as we don't insult each other and make no reference to a phisical defect that someone might have , it will be allright and should be tollerated .