The Malta Independent 14 July 2024, Sunday
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‘No fewer than 75’ persons arraigned over hate speech between 2020 and March 2022 - ministry

Kevin Schembri Orland Tuesday, 26 April 2022, 10:26 Last update: about 3 years ago

Between 2020 and March 2022, “no fewer than 75 people” were arraigned for cases related to online hate speech, a spokesperson for the Home Affairs Ministry told The Malta Independent.

This newsroom sent questions to Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri, asking whether he believes stronger action needs to be taken by the police against people who spread racial hatred on social media, whether the penalties are strong enough and if more prosecutions are needed, among other things.

“Hate speech, even when online, is a matter of great importance and it is taken seriously,” a spokesperson for the ministry said.

“To begin with, the police can initiate any investigation from their end without receiving a complaint. Article 82 A of the Criminal Code stipulates that the penalty for such offences may vary between 6 months and 18 months of effective imprisonment.”

“These investigations are carried out by a specific police squad, the vice squad, that investigates such cases.”

The spokesperson said that a few months ago, the government launched a national strategy and action plan against racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance. “This strategy will work to keep on strengthening equality in our country without any prejudice.”

“We are committed to continuing to protect every person, no matter where they come from. No difference in skin colour, disability or social status should hinder the unity that this Government has sown in recent years. We are committed to continuing to work for a dignified and respected life for everyone.”

This newsroom also sent questions to the Ministry for Inclusion, asking how the minister, Julia Farrugia Portelli, believes the issue of racist comments on social media can be tackled, what programmes the minister intends to introduce and how better integration could be achieved.

“Any hate speech directed at anyone is reprehensible and despicable. In recent years, the Government has committed itself to amending the Criminal Code in order to facilitate the process for people to be reported and subsequently brought to justice. Moreover, a few months ago, the Government launched a national strategy and action plan against racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance. This strategy will work to keep on strengthening equality in our country without any prejudice,” a spokesperson said. The ministry also said that the government is committed to protecting everyone.

 

 

 

 

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