Back
Register for SMS Alerts
or enter your details manually below...
First Name:
Last Name:
Email:
Password:
Hometown:
Birthday:
Sorry, we couldn't find that email.
Existing users
Email
Password
Sorry, we couldn't find those details.
Enter Email
Sorry, we couldn't find that email.

‘Vilification of religion’ to be struck off Criminal Code

Legal reform to make revenge porn illegal, new provisions against extreme porn

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
8 July 2015, 7:00am
In a package of laws that will fine-tune the Criminal Code, laws that punish the vilification of the Roman Catholic religion “and other cults tolerated by law”, in place since 1933, will finally be removed
In a package of laws that will fine-tune the Criminal Code, laws that punish the vilification of the Roman Catholic religion “and other cults tolerated by law”, in place since 1933, will finally be removed
Minister for justice and culture Owen Bonnici has embarked on a far-reaching legal reform that will strike off criminal sanctions on the vilification of religion, bringing Maltese law in line with 21st century European laws.

In a package of laws that will fine-tune the Criminal Code, Bonnici will today present new amendments to remove laws that punish the vilification of the Roman Catholic religion “and other cults tolerated by law”, laws that have been in place since 1933.

The laws will also make ‘revenge porn’ punishable by a maximum two years’ jail and €5,000 fine.

And obscenity laws introduced in 1975 under a Labour government, which generically outlawed articles that ‘unduly emphasised sex, crime, horror, cruelty and violence’, will also be removed.

Articles 163 and 164 of the Criminal Code carry a maximum punishment of six months’ imprisonment for the vilification of the Catholic religion, and three months’ for the vilification of any other religion, when such vilification occurs “by words, gestures, written matter whether printed or not, or pictures”; or by giving offence by vilifying those who profess the religion, its ministers, of objects of worship.

Article 165, which carries a maximum of one year’s imprisonment for those who impede or disturb a Catholic ceremony or religious service will also be removed, but retained as a contravention affecting public order within the Criminal Code.

Subscribe to the MaltaToday digital edition to gain access to The MaltaToday Sunday edition
 

The amendments rationalise pornography rules, retaining the maximum €3,000 penalty for the display of pornography in public places unless an adequate warning notice is placed in such public place, and where no minors are permitted to enter.

The new rules propose a three-year prison sentence and €6,000 penalty for “extreme pornography” – bestiality, necrophilia and explicit displays of rape – while creating a difference between public and artistic displays of erotic art or culture that could fall under generic definitions of pornography.

It will now be illegal to cause distress and emotional harm by the use of revenge porn – disclosing private sexual photographs or film without the consent of the persons depicted in the photograph – which crime carries a punishment of up to two years’ jail and a €5,000 fine.

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.