So, you can’t even insult people now

Culture Minister Owen Bonnici and Minister of Interior Byron Camilleri have argued that Malta’s Electronic Communications Act can be used to sue people in court over insults. Responding to a question by a MaltaToday journalist, Owen Bonnici said that his question was “very impertinent”. Karl Azzopardi was questioning Bonnici whether the new legal amendment which will decriminalise insults by artists is discriminatory – of course, it is.

So, basically, this is a nothing burger again by the Labour Party where they claim victory and historic precedents and all that when they are actually consolidating what is already bad in the system. There is also some confusion here. The Electronic Communications Act is already being abused in civil cases other than by Gordon Manche and it should not be used to sue people for insults. If this is the government’s interpretation then surely the law is wrong and should be changed. The Electronic Communications Act supposedly covers online threats, and it should not be used as a replacement for criminal libel.

Malta is taking steps backward with regard to freedom of speech with how the authorities are interpreting and applying laws. The Labour Party is also planning to introduce “anti-bullying laws” and a very authoritarian reform of the press. What’s happening today is much worse than the Lawrence Gonzi days because we are heading slowly to authoritarianism.


  1. Two of the worst Ministers ever in Maltese political history. It is enough to look at what happened under their watch in the last couple of years. They never took responsibilty for their actions or lack thereof in particularly grave situations, and never will.

  2. Where is the Minister for Justice? Probably being put to bed by his mummy. Oh no he had to deal with the authoritarian Commission for the Administration of Justice asking newly graduated lawyers if they have mental or other health issues in order to practice.

    Maybe the judges and magistrates who drafted this form should do the test on themselves, I bet few would pass. The real issue is that we are still languishing without a lawyers act, which is being stalled by interested parties (possibly a perit-avukat whose warrant in two professions, plus dubious university appointments, could be jeopardised by a new bill).

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  1. Labour is consolidating the criminalisation of insults – Mark Camilleri

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