Protests Erupt In Malta Over Proposed Law To Regulate Internet News
Thousand of people filled the street of Malta's capital Valletta on Sunday to oppose the new draft law that will restrain internet freedom in the country.
The opposition party Nationalist Party (NP) of Malta uses the issue to increase its popularity in winning the next election, Reuters reported. The NP organized the protest on Sunday, Feb. 19 to oppose the new proposed law that require the Internet news sites to register with the Maltese government. The party has promised to block the proposed bill from becoming law because the bill is equal to restricting the freedom of speech.
"This is a restriction on Internet freedom,” said the leader of NP Simon Busuttil in the rally to protest the bill. “A future Nationalist government will repeal it if it gets approved by parliament."
Since the goverment proposed the bill last week, the NP took a strong stance against the draft, Malta Today reported. Priot to the rally, the leadership of NP held a press conference on Thursday to remind the government that Internet news is vastly different than the printed newspaper. Therefore, the treatment to regulate the Internet news and online information should be different than treating the printed newspaper.
Internet freedom has been a major concern of government in many countries. The government has sought to regulate the Internet and some of the government took a strong stance to limit the Internet news with the repressive law. NP does not want Malta to have such law.
The freedom of speech in the internet has been an interesting topics and drawing many pros and cons. As the internet provides media that could reach global audience, but it also can be used by people to spread the fake news and promote terrorism. In the United States, Internet activists such as the late Aaron Swartz and Electrionic Frontier Foundation are some of the people involve in the Internet freedom of speech.
Watch the speech from Swartz about the Internet freedom below: