As reported yesterday, Malta's Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici has announced new amendments to censorship laws, which he said make good on the Labour Party's promises in opposition to prevent the further criminalisation of artists and
citizens based on archaic laws pertaining to obscenity.
Obscenity laws introduced in 1975 under a Labour government, which generically outlawed articles that unduly emphasised sex, crime, horror, cruelty and violence , will be repealed.
Pornography will now be defined as something which is made with the express aim to sexually arouse, and will be allowed to be distributed to adults, provided appropriate warnings will be given.
However examples of extreme pornography will be banned outright. These are defined as an act which threatens a person's life, an act which results in a person's severe injury, rape or a non-consensual sexual activity, sexual activity involving a
human corpse, and any act involving a person an animal.
Speaking to MaltaToday, Andrew Sciberras, part of the legal team charged with assembling the new law, ensured that strong defenses are in place for however falls foul of these new amendments, and that each case will be allowed to be considered on
a case-by-case basis.
Sciberras explained that the amendments are based on the British equivalent of the same laws, which he admitted were not without their controversy . He was referring specifically to the extreme porn laws , which led to protests following
their introduction in the UK in 2008.
This law has proven to be problematic when it comes to, for example, pornography of the bondage-and-masochism (BDSM) genre, which while often suggestive of violent activity by definition, could also be presented in a fictionalized setting, and performed
in a safe environment.
Sciberras added that in all cases, the context of the work in question -- be it visual or a work of literature -- will be considered in context to determine whether its worth is solely pornographic or not