Conversion Therapy Police Report Against Matthew Grech And Journalists Was Filed By Top EU Equality Official And Two Others
Police charged River of Love musician Matthew Grech and two Maltese journalists with promoting “gay conversion therapy” on the strength of a report filed by top EU official Silvan Agius and two others.
PMNews, whose presenters Mario Camilleri and Rita Bonnici have been charged, reported that the police report which led to their prosecution was filed by Silvan Agius, Cynthia Chircop and Christian Attard.
Agius is a Cabinet expert in the team of EU Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli and had previously served as head of the Human Rights and Integration Directorate in Malta, where he was involved in the criminalisation of conversion therapy.
Chircop is co-chair of the Malta Gay Rights’ Movement (MGRM), while Attard helped found the organisation, although they filed the police report in their personal capacities and not on behalf of the NGO.
Agius confirmed with Lovin Malta that they were the people who filed the report but declined to answer questions as the court case is ongoing.
During an interview with Camilleri and Bonnici on PMNews in April 2022, Grech said he stopped being gay after realising it was incongruent with the teachings of the Bible.
Grech insisted that although he felt sexually attracted towards men, he decided to suppress his sexual desires because the Bible teaches that homosexuality isn’t a sexual orientation but rather a sinful practice.
Police subsequently pressed charges against the musician and his interviewers for “advertising conversion therapy practices”, a clause which was only added to the law earlier this year.
The case kicked off last month in front of magistrate Monica Vella. Proceedings were suspended after PMNews, through their lawyer Emmy Bezzina, requested that their case be separated from the case against Grech.
Camilleri told Lovin Malta last month that the charges go against freedom of the press and free expression.
“We can’t be held responsible for what our guest says during a live show, and the script shows we were pushing back against Matthew,” he said. “The entire script would probably read like a bad advert for conversion therapy.”
Cover photo: Left: Silvan Agius, Right: PMNews presenters Mario Camilleri and Rita Bonnici (Photo: PMNews), Inset: Matthew Grech
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