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Xenophobic and homophobic attitudes: national report for Malta

The University of Malta is proud to launch the National Report that was produced for the C.O.N.T.A.C.T. project (Creating an On-line Network, monitoring Team and phone App to Counter hate crime Tactics).

The project, which received funding from the Rights, Equality & Citizenship Programme of the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (JUST/2014/RRAC/AG) aimed at combating hate crime through research and training activities in 10 countries (Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Spain, UK).

The study carried out within the Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology and confirmed findings that in Malta hate speech and hate crime are often not seen as a serious offence and is significantly under-reported. In the local context, the issue has become increasingly relevant, as the influx of irregular migrants, the recent legalization of civil unions and the new Gender Identity Bill seem to have affected the problems of hate speech and hate crime targeted at particular minority groups on the Maltese islands.

In fact, the research conducted for the project, in which newspaper comment sections were analysed, showed that xenophobic speech occurs at a much higher frequency and to a much harsher degree than homophobic speech. Xenophobic sentiments appear to arouse racist, Islamaphobic, and anti-migrant discourse, which tightly correspond to attitudes of nationalism, patriotism, and fear and that provoke strong emotional responses.

As the 2-year project has now come to an end, we are proud to release the National Report for Malta [PDF], which gives a detailed description of the analyses conducted and the findings of the study.

For more information about the project visit the project website or contact the UM coordinator: Dr Stavros Assimakopoulos.

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