Arts Engage Position Paper FAQs

FAQs on ArtsEngage Position Paper on Proposed Amendments to the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act (MDA’s Arts Term Licensing  Scheme)

 1. Is the proposed scheme just a continuation of the status quo? 


The mechanism of classification of art work has changed. An MDA officer tasked with responsibility and duty before now an individual in the arts group must do so, bearing personal liability. 

In the past if there was a dispute regarding a mistake or misclassification there was the possibility of a police/judicial process. With MDA taking on investigative powers this is reduced to a MDA/Administrative process. 

MDA-trained "content assessors" who in fact are members/employees of arts groups leads directly to administrated self-censorship.

Due to the continued presence of NAR and R18 categories as content guidelines, censorship criteria once limited to film and video will now be foisted on theatre and the performing arts. 

The inclusion of Virtual Performances increases the MDA's scope of surveillance and control. 


2. Is the Arts Engage Position Paper an over-reaction? 


This is our response to MDA's call for public consultation. We reject TLS. 

We can always exercise the option of opting out. But for us the option to opt-out FOLLOWS from an in principle REJECTION of TLS. It is NOT a consequence of an acceptance of TLS. 

This is not a boycott or a protest. It is in fact engagement with a reasoned, well argued paper in the public domain. It may be noisy and impassioned but it's engagement. Deal with it. 


3. Why the position paper: Isn't the censorship regime just hunky dory right now.

 You're kidding ... right? No!

Censorship is wrong, simpliciter. It's a violation of the citizen's rights, let alone the artist. 

Censorship is now more invidious and dangerous as it is cloaked. It’s hidden behind administrative, structural, grant-making, tenancy and other legal procedures. 

The inclusion of NAR and R18 with Cuts categories under content guidelines for classification renders classification just censorship by other means.