'Stitching' reviewed twice - Classification Board
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'Stitching' reviewed twice - Classification Board

The chairman of the Film and Stage Classification Board has insisted in a judicial counter-protest that the decision to ban the play Stitching was taken after review by three persons, subsequently confirmed by another three.

The board this afternoon published a counter protest filed last week following a protest by the play's producer and director.

Teresa Friggieri, chairman, said that although plays were normally assessed by one person, in this case it was reviewed by three people - Cecilia Xuereb, Dione Mifsud and herself, who decided it should be banned and disallowed. Since the play had been submitted for review somewhat late, Ms Friggieri said she personally met Mr Gatt to explain why the play had been banned. She also spoke to Mr Buckle over the phone.

After the producers requested a review of the board's decision, Ms Friggieri said the script was seen by another three persons - Marthese Scerri, Joe Camilleri and Tony Muscat who independently confirmed the original decision.

Mrs Friggieri said the board had acted in terms of the law and established procedures, even though the script was submitted late and the producers had even started distributing a flyer which said that the production had been classified '18'. without them being in possession of any such certificate.

Mrs Friggieri said the board denied violating the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights since freedom of expression was not absolute and was subject to several limitations in the interests of morality, and public decency.

The simple fact that an 18-year-old person could decide what to see and experience did not mean that the state did not have a duty to control what art, films and theatrical productions were being produced or presented. In this case, the script not only contained obscene language, but in some cases it also offended religious sentiment. It included decadent material, shameful and perverted content of a sexual and sadomasochistic content and even paedophilia. It also included references to the Auschwitz victims which exceeded all limits of public decency.

The board in a statement denied that it had not countered the judicial protest by the producers in time and said it was filed two days before the producers held their press conference.

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