33 people taken to Maltese court for hate speech in 2021

 - Local - Jan 23 2022 SHARE ON:
33 people taken to Maltese court for hate speech in 2021

Just last year, 33 people faced charges in Court accused of spreading hate speech, mostly on social media platform Facebook. 

Malta’s Police Force and the Victim Support Agency have expressed concerns that this type of speech has increased on social media. Not only that, but victims of such derogatory speech often find it difficult to report such cases. 

In 2021, police investigated around 48 reports of hate speech, with 33 people from these cases taken to court over the offences. Inspector John Spiteri told TVM News that police noted an increase in such instances, particularly targeted at minority groups. 

‘Even though it is important for one to have the right to their opinion, there are ways of expressing such opinions. The moment the opinion ‘goes overboard’ and it becomes a direct attack towards some minority, it gets classified as a crime.’ 

He also stated that it is almost impossible for police to be aware of every single hate comment which is written on social media. Despite this, police still investigated cases wherein hate speech was found but no report was filed. 

The Victim Support Agency’s executive chief, Brian Farrugia, highlighted how victims often find it difficult to report hate speech. ‘Most of the time, it’s because these people don’t know where and how to report it.’

‘An element of fear of retaliation also exists – with victims fearing that the aggressor will do more harm if reported.’ 

Farrugia said that the groups most prone to hate speech are immigrants, people with different sexual orientations and even persons with disabilities. A person who is found guilty of such offences can receive a maximum 18 month prison sentence and a fine maximum of €23,000. 


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Health authorities to reveal first phase of COVID exit roadmap this week

 - COVID-19 - Jan 23 2022 SHARE ON:
Health authorities to reveal first phase of COVID exit roadmap this week

On Saturday, Health Minister Chris Fearne said that the first phase of an ‘exit roadmap’ to gradually ease COVID-19 health restrictions will be unveiled this upcoming week. 

Despite not elaborating that much further, Fearne said that the plan will lay out the dates when certain measures will be removed. 

Speaking during an interview on ONE Radio, the Deputy Prime Minister stated how the measures will all be removed at the opportune moment, with hospitals and ITUs remaining under control concerning infections. 

With around three-quarters of adults vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe, Fearne also remarked that Malta has one of the lowest rates of people worried by the pandemic. 

He reiterated the importance of vaccinating against the virus, revealing that around 3% have still not taken the fist or second dose of the jab, and 20% still to take their booster shot. 

Fearne also unveiled that the majority of people who died while COVID positive had not been vaccinated. Speaking about children’s vaccination, the rates is also one of the highest worldwide. 

He urged for children in the 5 to 11 age group to get the vaccine, pointing to studies which show that the Omicron variant, which is currently dominant, is leading to more children being hospitalised. 

With current restrictions limiting entry to establishments such as bars and restaurants for only vaccinated people and removing masks for groups of less than 2 fully-jabbed individuals, the easing of such measures will be revealed at some point this week. 

The news was met with support by hotels and restaurants, with the MHRA even expressing its hopeful stance at the gradual return to normalcy after the measures were met with wide criticism.


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M&M’s release new ‘inclusive’ personalities for each candy piece

 - Business - Jan 23 2022 SHARE ON:
M&M’s release new ‘inclusive’ personalities for each candy piece

Not only are M&M’s getting a makeover for all their chocolate pieces, but the now 81-year-old brand is pivoting towards ‘more inclusive’ marketing. 

M&M, as part of the Mars Wirgley brand, is debuting a new look for the pieces by pledging to fans that the new brand aesthetic revamp will try to increase a sense of belonging for all of its consumers. 

There will be an enhanced focus on the iconic colour palette and the use of different shapes and sizes of M&M’s lentils. All the candies, which have already been previously given human characteristics, will be assigned a fresh personality and look similar to that of a TV drama. 

The two female characters – Ms. Green and Ms. Brown – will be dropping the title to de-emphasise gender and will be teaming up as a ‘force supporting women, together throwing shine and not shade.’ 

Two of the other mascots will embody the modern age’s emotions, with yellow being the optimist and changing from the punchline of the joke in commercials to a wise candy. 

On the other hand, orange is bearing all our collective anxieties. His makeover has one of the saddest lines to come out of a marketing department as he is described as ‘one of the most relatable characters with Gen-Z, which is also the most anxious generation.’ 

Red, who was the team’s ‘alpha candy’ will be sharing the spotlight with the rest of the cast. M&Ms also plans on changing the overall vibe to the commercials. The brand promised ‘an updated tone of voice that is more inclusive, welcoming, and unifying, while remaining rooted in our signature jester wit and humour.’ 

Of course, as with any such rebrand, people’s reactions were very mixed. Despite some welcoming the new rendition of the candies, some took the time to jab at the change. 

Others however did some meta-criticism, stating that they cannot wait to see the internet obsess over M&M’s subtle changes to their characters. And the rest?… Well, they just want to enjoy some M&M’s. 


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Here are the pharmacies opening today between 9am to noon

 - Health & Fitness - Jan 23 2022 SHARE ON:
Pharmacies opening today 9am until 12pm and 4pm until 7pm

Here are the pharmacies opening today Sunday 23rd January 2022 from 9 am till noon 

Paola: Brown’s Paola Square Pharmacy, 64/65, Pjazza Antoine De Paule;

Kalkara: Brown’s Pharmacy, 8 Misraħ l-Archbishop Gonzi; 

Żebbuġ: Spiżerija Ħal Mula, Dun Salv Ciappara Street;

Valletta: Regent Pharmacy, 70, Merchants Street;

Ibraġġ: Krypton Pharmacy, Ibraġġ Road;

Sliema: Stella Maris Pharmacy, 34, Millner Street;

Fgura: Hompesch Pharmacy, 207/2011, Hompesch Road;

Żejtun: Green Cross Pharmacy, 8, Misraħ Gregorio Bonnici;

Zurrieq: Milia’s Pharmacy, 42, Blue Grotto Avenue;

Attard: St Catherine Pharmacy, Dielja Street c/w St Catherine Street;

Mosta: St Mary Pharmacy, 14, Pjazza Rotunda;

St Paul’s Bay: Health & Co. Pharmacy, Street l-Erba’ Mwieżeb;

Ħamrun: Thomas’ Pharmacy, 796, St Joseph High Road;

Qormi: Evans Pharmacy, 96/98, St Sebastian Street;

Imtarfa: Imtarfa Pharmacy, 207 St David Street;

Birkirkara: Herba Pharmacy, 183, Main Street;

Gżira: O’Hea Pharmacy, 128, Manoel de Vilhena Street;

Malta International Airport: The ‘8 Till Late Pharmacy’ is open every day from 8am to 10pm

Gozo: 9am to noon

Sannat: Pisani Pharmacy, Bini Ġdid, Sannat Street

Victoria: Castle Pharmacy, 2, Misraħ Indipendenza


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