The Malta Independent 12 December 2018, Wednesday

Watch: PD MP Marlene Farrugia describes Chris Cardona comments as ‘bullying’

Tuesday, 4 December 2018, 10:37 Last update: about 8 days ago

"Stand up to bullies everywhere and at all times - it has no place anywhere in society, let alone Parliament," PD MP Marlene Farrugia noted following yesterday’s Parliamentary sitting where threatening remarks were made in her respect by Economy Minister Chris Cardona

"No bully scares me. Yesterday's remarks strengthen my resolve to give my one hundred percent towards cleaning up the mess in Malta's political system," she said.

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Minister Chris Cardona was heard telling Marlene Farrugia, "it will soon be your turn" (ġejja tiegħek) on the sidelines of a heated exchange before the Speaker resolved to devote yesterday's Parliamentary sitting to discussing the findings of the National Audit Office report on the contract for the construction and operation of the gas-fired power station in Delimara that was awarded to Electrogas.

PD leader Godfrey Farrugia brought the comments to the attention of the Speaker of the House, who tried to defuse the situation and said the comment was made by Cardona with political intent.

"Hate speech and bullying, especially against women, is rampant in Malta and more so in social media. It is directed towards politicians, journalists and activists. Little to nothing is being done by PL or PN to stop it", says Marlene Farrugia, noting how journalistic revelations show persons linked to both major political parties run online troll farms in order to inflame debate online.

One such troll farm is the Facebook Group Laburisti sal-Mewt. Attacks on opposition MPs, government critics and civil society activists are co-ordinated on such Facebook groups. These groups also help spread disinformation and fake news. Neither Prime Minister Joseph Muscat nor Opposition Leader Adrian Delia have condemned the use of troll farms to stifle discussion.

"This is part of a trend where no action is taken against hate speech and bullying. A 2016 request made to Malta to counteract hate speech during the 2017 EU Council Presidency agenda was not taken up by government. Instead of beating hate speech and bullying, the agenda seems to be to continue promoting it," says Godfrey Farrugia.

 

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