What does Robert Abela really understand by term hate speech?

There was an aspect of Robert Abela’s address to the Maltese nation on New Year’s Day which has been accepted with open arms by the mainstream media without any one of our journalists batting an eyelid. Among other issues, Abela vouched for a crusade (this is my word not his) against the use of hate speech on social media and other fora.

But what does Abela understand by the term hate speech? Till now we have witnessed common citizens being dragged to court and accused of inciting hate after passing trivial comments on Facebook, in most cases against politicians. Therefore, euphemistic expressions in Maltese such as, you deserve to be shot or hanged, landed the persons who wrote them in court, in particular when written against politicians. They were accused of having written threatening words and were fined for writing them by our courts. But then, when some liberal journalist writes and accuses those whom he despises as Mafiosi, our courts failed to qualify the use of such a word as hate speech or defamatory. The reason given was that all the world knows that it was a word used in an euphemistic way!

In truth, all citizens should be worried about what the Prime Minister has stated regarding his intention to curb hate speech. In a nutshell, such a declaration means that free speech in Malta is in danger. It will no longer exist. It will be the privilege of the few. Under the guise of hate speech, the freedom of expression of the common mortals is going to be curbed. The so-called freedom of expression will be a right to be exercised by a special breed, the one belonging to the approved or established journalists. The rest will have to stay silent. Else they will risk being dragged to court and accused of hate speech, even if what they say will be mild political criticism stated in an unorthodox manner. What George Orwell had called doublespeak is slowly becoming a reality in Malta.

By doublespeak or doubletalk, Orwell meant the deliberate misuse of language to obscure, distort or reverse the true intention of the action that the word or expression intends to convey. Through the use of an appropriate phrase, which in our case is hate speech, our Prime Minister is announcing an action that sounds palatable but in truth, it hides the true motive which in this case is the curtailment of our freedom of expression. In other words, the true intention needs to be read in the actual inversion of the meaning of the words that are being conveyed.

What is even more disturbing is the fact that this measure has been announced in the wake of the fact that there is a push for vaccines to become mandatory. Even here, personal freedom, whether to choose to be vaccinated or not, is being eradicated.

Then, there is another element that no one is talking about. The removal of personal freedom is taking place within the scenario that the electricity bills will possibly go up. This will not happen in the immediate future but will definitely take place after the elections.

With an election around the corner, one cannot believe that Robert Abela is coming up with these weird ideas. This just shows how weak and malfunctioning our Opposition is. Either he is misinformed or someone is putting a gun to his head to make political use of doublespeak.

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