The Malta Independent 26 February 2024, Monday
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The police must protect the artist’s right to satire – Home Affairs Minister

Marc Galdes Wednesday, 21 June 2023, 16:53 Last update: about 9 months ago

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri defended the artist’s freedom and right to express satire through their art and admitted that he was critical of the police who should be defending the artist’s freedom to express.

River of Love pastor Gordon Manché has asked the police to take action against three artists who made satirical comments about him on social media and during comedy stand-up sessions, these being comedians Matthew Bonanno and Daniel Xuereb, and Teatru Malta Artistic Director Sean Buhagiar.

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In reference to these cases, Camilleri said that he was critical of the police as he believed that it is the police’s job to protect freedom of speech and the artist’s right to use satire, and not to be used as a tool for those who want to silence the artist.

Camilleri was responding to a parliamentary question made by PL MP Katya De Giovanni on Wednesday, who asked about the reports Gordon Manche had filed.

“I am one who enjoys satire, like Jimmy Carr,” Camilleri said. He noted how when you watch satire you understand that it is satire, and if there are people who do not like it then they do not need to watch it.

In reaction to the numerous police reports that Manché filed, the government tabled the first reading of a bill entitled “To continue strengthening the freedom of artistic expression” in Parliament on Monday.

The document which was tabled through a motion and without any notice has been accepted by both parties at the first reading stage.

Both Culture Minister Owen Bonnici and Camilleri agreed that, as legislators in parliament, it is their intention to implement a law that would protect the artist.

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