The PN’s Shadow Minister for Justice has reacted strongly to a violent comment calling for him to be hung in his hometown’s pjazza.
“There are those who think I should be killed in the Siġġiewi pjazza, and after perform violence on my dead body. With this incitement to violence and hatred against me, they will never shut my mouth and stop me from working for justice and truth. Nothing and no one will ever silence me,” Karol Aquilina said today.
The comment was made publicly under an article where Aquilina was speaking about the ongoing “game” being played with the apparent arrest and release of individuals like former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and former OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.
It was not made by a fake account, and Aquilina even shared the name and face of the person who made the violent comment, which said: “You deserve to be taken to the gallows in the middle of the Siġġiewi pjazza, tied to San Nikola and everyone that walks by sticks a sewing needle into you, so you get what you deserve, you hateful man.”
The online Maltese sphere, generally politically-energised, oftentimes has to deal with personal and cruel attacks on public figures like politicians.
Malta established a Hate Crime and Speech Unit in October, 2019 to deal with these kinds of attacks on an individual. The unit also flags reports in clear breach of Article 82A of Chapter 9 in Malta’s Criminal Code to the police to investigate further.
In the first half of 2020, around 185 reports were filed to HCSU, with only about 5% being flagged for police to investigate.
More and more politicians have been reporting online hate speech.
Back in 2019, Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola had won a court case over an online troll who violently threatened her as well, with the culprit being conditionally discharged for three years and issued a five-year protection order for Metsola.