The Malta Independent 24 September 2021, Friday

MP, NGO head and journalists targets of hate speech on social media

Monday, 2 August 2021, 09:51 Last update: about 3 months ago

A Nationalist MP, an NGO head and journalists have been the target of hate speech on the social media, incidents which yet again show how this tool is being used to spew venom against others.

Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina said he has written to the police commissioner for action to be taken against Sandro Farrugia, who said that he (Aquilina) and his brother Robert, who is the head of the NGO Repubblika, should be “beaten… once and for all”.

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Aquilina, who posted a photo of Farrugia with Prime Minister Robert Abela, said that he will not be intimidated by people like Farrugia, and will continue to fight for the truth to emerge and for justice.


Journalists have also been the target of hate speech in the last hours.

Mark Laurence Zammit, who announced that he is leaving PBS because of interference in his work, was one of them. Beneath a post uploaded by former Labour Party president Emmanuel Cuschieri, Gordon Muscat wrote that “finally we got rid of another”.

The Malta Independent was also a subject of an attack by Ralph Jones. Beneath an article “Gold medal for Malta? Only if corruption – and other things – were a sport”, signed by senior editor Stephen Calleja, Jones wrote that it is “no wonder they blow up journalists”.

In another post beneath the same article, Jones writes “What do you call a Maltese journalist on the moon ?. Answer, A problem. What do you call 2 Maltese journalists on the moon ?. Answer, Two problems. What do you call all the Maltese journalists on the moon ?. Problem solved.”

This happened days after the publication of an inquiry report which found that the State was to blame for the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, killed in a car bomb in October 2017. The State, according to the report, failed to recognise the real risks to the journalist’s life and failed to take the reasonable steps to avoid these risks. The report concluded that a culture of impunity was created and that the tentacles of impunity spread to regulatory bodies and the police, which led to the rule of law collapsing.

PM Abela over the weekend pledged to defend journalists, saying that “now we are in the phase where we need to come up with the basis for sustainability of this profession.”

He said that the government had assisted the industry during the pandemic from a financial perspective, but that there is now the need to look beyond the financial aspect.

But it seems that his words have fallen on deaf ears.

 

 

 

 

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