The Maltese parliament has approved, at the third reading stage, amendments to the Criminal Act that repeal legislation that censured the vilification of religion, decriminalises pornography and criminalises revenge porn.
The law punishing the
vilification of the Roman Catholic religion had been in place since 1933 and was used by the authorities to censor works of art, theatre productions and prevent films from being screened.
When he originally presented the proposed amendments in
February, justice minister Owen Bonnici sought to allay fears that the law would not allow people to incite religious hatred, noting that the incitement of hatred based on religion, gender, race, sexuality, gender identity or political belief was already
illegal as per a more recent law and would remain so. He said:
In a democratic country, people should be free to make fun of religions, while not inciting hatred.
The Nationalist opposition had been
opposed to the proposed amendments and had accused the government of political atheism , and of adopting policies of forced secularisation .
On his part, Archbishop Charles Scicluna tweeted his dismay at news that MPs had, as
expected, successfully passed Bill 133:
Demeaning God and man indeed go hand in hand. A sad day for Malta. Lord forgive them: they do not know what they do.