The police have confirmed they are investigating former General Workers’ Union boss Tony Zarb for a potential breach of Malta’s hate speech laws after he described a group of women activists as prostitutes last October.
“Please note that the case mentioned by your good self is being investigated by the Divisional Police,” a police spokesperson told Lovin Malta, after we requested an update on a report that was filed three months ago.
The Womens’ Rights Foundation and human rights NGO Aditus had reported Zarb to the police after he said that a group of women who had protested outside Castille should have instead gone to Stait Street to find “someone to warm them up”. Following the outcry, Zarb deleted his Facebook status and publicly apologised to “genuine women who might not have liked what I had written”.
Back then, WRF chairperson Andrea Dibben warned Zarb’s comments betrayed his misogyny and called on the government to take action against him in view of his role as consultant to tourism minister Konrad Mizzi.
“If no action is taken against Tony Zarb, who holds a public post, then it will truly mean we are living in a culture of impunity,” she said.
Hate speech in Malta is defined as the use of “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour…with intent thereby to stir up violence or hatred against another person or group on the grounds of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race etc”. It is punishable by imprisonment for a term from six to eighteen months