The Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association has closely followed the police reports filed by Pastor Gordon Manche against two comedians and the Artistic Director of Teatru Malta. These recent reports filed by Manche put a spotlight on two issues which require urgent attention and action.
Firstly, freedom of speech in satire, comedy and in artistic expression should be protected, and any attempt to silence artistic creators should not be tolerated. The artistic community has always faced discrimination, struggles and occasionally the lack of respect shown towards the sector’s professionality when compared with other professions. MEIA strives to protect our community and promote it collectively. We hope that common sense will prevail here and all police reports by Pastor Gordon Manche are dismissed immediately.
Secondly, it is noted that when reports are filed with the Police in an attempt to silence artists, and to stamp out satire and comedy, most often than not it can result in a waste of Police resources and of Court time. It is noted that Maltese laws balance freedom of expression while respecting the rights of private individuals, but recent happenings show that the legal framework needs to be amended to reduce and discourage those persons who file complaints to cause distress to those who criticise them. This is not to suggest that reports filed to the Police should not be taken seriously or not looked into, but there surely must be a policy in place to filter complaints received so that nobody takes advantage of the system.