Malta Has Sights on Decriminalizing Porn

Jul 28, 2015 10:13 AM PST

VALLETTA, Malta — Malta, the Southern European island country, has sights on decriminalizing pornography and may allow the opening of adult retail stores and broadcast transmission of sexually explicit content.

Currently, pornography and obscene material is outlawed regardless of whether it has a commercial interest or whether it is directed to an adult audience.

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said the reforms, known as Bill 113 of 2015, shows that government of the archipelago in the central Mediterranean is not the moral custodian of adult people and that “adults are to be treated as adults.”

Bill 113 would amend the criminal code an open up a brand new market for adult entertainment entrepreneurs. But it will still be illegal to distribute pornographic material in public places and to expose children to such material.

The piece of legislation would allow the licensing of TV channels that transmit pornographic content. And adult DVD and sex toy and novelty stores would be allowed for the first time as long as clear warnings are made outside the shop.Violators that flout the law would face up to €3,000 in fines.

Bill 113 also would revamp its obscenity laws, creating a three-year prison term, along with up to €6,000 in fines, for “extreme pornography.”

It would also impose two-year sentences and up to €5,000 in fines for those convicted of “revenge pornography,” the publication of private material of sexual photographs and film involving people without their consent. 

Today, the Malta Confederation of Women’s Organizations (MCWO), representing 13 local member groups, called on all members of Parliament to reject the bill.

“There are more important issues at stake which have wider implications on society,” MCWO Chair Lorraine Spiteri said. “Pornography objectifies women, cuts up their bodies into sexual parts, conveys distorted images of sexual relationships and influences the attitudes and behaviors in relationships especially of young people.” 

The bill, which can be viewed here, must pass Malta’s Parliament and signed by the president to be enacted into law.

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