Proposed Media Register draws criticism in Malta

A number of provisions in the newly proposed Media and Defamation Act have drawn criticism in Malta. While the bill aims to abolish criminal libel and offer additional protection to journalists, it will also create a Media Register, obliging online news websites and services to register with the government. The Justice Ministry said this was ‘an extension of what exists today’, as traditional newspapers and broadcasting stations have been required to register since 1975; the Opposition, however, described the provisions are a restriction on Internet freedom. The bill will now be debated in Parliament.