The Malta Independent 20 November 2018, Tuesday

Porn shops to be allowed in Malta, no longer a crime to vilify religion

Wednesday, 8 July 2015, 11:24 Last update: about 4 years ago

Porn shops will soon be able to open in Malta after legal reforms that will allow pornographic material to be displayed so long as clear warnings are made outside the shop.

The warning must read: “Warning. Persons passing beyond this notice will find material on display which they may consider indecent. No admittance to persons under 18 years of age.”

It will still be illegal to distribute pornographic material in public places and to expose children to such material.

In announcing the government, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said the reforms showed that government is not the moral custodian of adult people.

“Adults are to be treated as adults... These reforms aim to incentivise freedom of artistic expression while protecting the vulnerable,” he said this morning.

Dr Bonnici said that the legal reforms will be presented in Parliament shortly. In a tweet later, Dr Bonnici said that this is the progressive society we want to live in.


The reform will also include the complete removal of articles 163 and 164 of the Criminal Code, meaning that the vilification of the Roman Catholic Apostolic religion and other religions will no longer be a crime.

The two articles made it illegal to vilify religion “by words, gestures, written matter, whether printed or not, or pictures or by some other visible means”. They carried a maximum punishment of six months imprisonment of the Catholic religion, and half that if any other religion is vilified. They will now be removed from Maltese laws. It will also no longer be a crime to disrupt a Catholic ceremony or religious service, but it will still be considered a crime if public order is contravened under the Criminal Code.

The new rules will propose a three-year prison term for extreme pornography - such as bestiality and necrophilia - while creating a different between public and artistic displays of erotic art and culture.

It will also become illegal to cause distress and emotional harm by using revenge porn - the publication of private material of sexual photographs and film involving people without their consent. The punishment, in this case, would be a maximum of two years in jail.

  • don't miss