Film, video and photography
In 2005, the Malta Film Commission was set up through Chapter 471 for the promotion, development and support of the audiovisual industry, including the film servicing industry, in Malta, through the office of the Film Commissioner.
In 2014 the Government of Malta upgraded the cash rebates for filmmakers making the financial guidelines more attractive to the film industry. Productions that satisfy a cultural test can benefit from a rebate of up to 25% of eligible expenditure with an additional 2% if the production features Malta culturally. Qualifying productions are required to present a provisional application to the Malta Film Commission, including a detailed projection of the Malta budget for the production. The rebate is given once filming is complete and on receipt of the audit report and upon final review by the Commissioner, the cash rebate is forwarded to the qualifying production no later than five months from the date of receipt of the presented production expenditure in Malta.
Feature films, Television films or Television Series or Mini-Series, Animation, Creative documentaries, Transmedia and Crossmedia productions are all eligible for the incentives, provided that they are all or partially produced in Malta.
The age-classification of films is carried out by the Film Board as stipulated in S.L 444.01 under the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts Act. In the previous legislation, film classifiers had to report to the Commissioner of Police “whether having regard, in their discretion, to public morality, decency or propriety, or to the public interest, the film to which the application refers may or may not be passed for exhibition with or without any suppressed parts”.
The new legislation shifted the responsibility from the Commissioner of Police to the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts and focused exclusively on film classification without any authority to censor or ban any audiovisual works or part of.
Films are classified into one of the following categories:
- “U” – UNIVERSAL. Suitable for all.
- “PG” – PARENTAL GUIDANCE. General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children.
- “12A” – Suitable for persons of 12 years and over: Provided that persons younger than 12 years may attend only when accompanied by an adult.
- “12” – Suitable only for persons of twelve years and over.
- “15” – Suitable for persons of fifteen years and over.
- “18” – Suitable only for persons of eighteen years and over.
All policy regulations related to broadcasting in Malta are the responsibility of the Malta Broadcasting Authority. Formal laws are enacted through Parliament. The 29 September 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the Broadcasting Authority through the Broadcasting Ordinance of 1961. It was set up under an Executive Council with an Interim Constitution during a period when a new constitution for Malta was being prepared allowing for a measure of self-government and recognizing the State of Malta.
The Broadcasting Ordinance of 1961 was modelled on the Independent Television Authority of 1954 at that time in the UK, which was created to supervise the creation of Independent TV (ITV), the first commercial television network in the UK. However, the Broadcasting Authority was also given the power to produce its own radio and television programmes, while it also had to annually invest GBP 10 000 and GBP 25 000 in qualitative programmes that were to be broadcast on both the services licensed to its two contractors: Rediffusion (Malta) Ltd. and Malta Television Service Ltd.
The proposed Legal Notice 158 on Broadcasting Regulations in Malta reserves an unspecified majority (not a specific proportion) of transmission time for European works. This applies to all public and private TV-stations but does not cover radio. Government also allocates a specific fund for TV and Radio programming to the public broadcaster as public service obligation for culture, current affairs, entertainment, sports and children’s programming.
The Broadcasting Act of 1991 (amended several times between 1993 and 2001) stipulates that public broadcasting in the Maltese islands should provide high quality programming across a full range of public tastes and interests. The Act declares that public broadcasting has “a particular duty to provide programming of an educational and cultural nature”, and stresses the need for local preference.
On 1 January 2001, the Malta Communications Authority was set up to liberalise and regulate telecommunication services. While the onus of broadcast content remained the prerogative of the Broadcasting Authority, telecommunication licences including those for radio frequencies in the UHF Band and digital terrestrial television broadcasting had to be endorsed by the Malta Communications Authority which took over the operations of the Wireless and Telegraphy Department.
 Axiak M (2011) 50 Years or service http://www.ba-malta.org/the-authority