Back in 2007 in the time of the supposedly more democratic Prodi government, Italy’s shady politicians tried to gag Italy’s vociferous bloggers. Well, this time Berlusconi and his cronies are having a go at gagging Italy’s bloggers too.
The communication of what is really happening in Italy, thus bypassing the country’s notoriously manipulated press, has never been appreciated by those at the top, who try to rely on the evasion of transparency to cover up their, how shall I put this, er, inadequacies.
Italy’s politicians do not, or so it would seem, pay heed to the constitution of the country which elected them. Have a look at articles 2 and 21:
Extracts From the Italian Constitution
Article 2 [Human Rights]
The republic recognizes and guarantees the inviolable human rights, be it as an individual or in social groups expressing their personality, and it ensures the performance of the unalterable duty to political, economic, and social solidarity.
Article 21 [Freedom of Communication]
(1) Everyone has the right to freely express thoughts in speech, writing, and by other communication.
(2) The press may not be controlled by authorization or submitted to censorship.
(3) Seizure is permitted only by judicial order stating the reason and only for offences expressly determined by the press law or for violation of the obligation to identify the persons responsible for such offences.
(4) In cases of absolute urgency where immediate judicial intervention is impossible, periodicals may be seized by the judicial police, who must immediately and in no case later than 24 hours report the matter to the judiciary. If the measure is not validated by the judiciary within another 24 hours, it is considered revoked and has no effect.
(5) The law may, by general provision, order the disclosure of financial sources of periodical publications.
(6) Publications, performances, and other exhibits offensive to public morality are prohibited. Measures of prevention and repression against violations are provided by law.
Or, by trying to silence Italy’s bloggers, are Italy’s politicians saying that the Italian constitution is worth about as much as used toilet paper?
Sure looks like it to this here Blogger from Italy.
This is the culprit:
DdL C. 1269 – Proposal for a Law 1269
This insidious little proposal for a law, if passed and according to what I’ve read, will mean that any blog which shows publicity, such as Adsense, for example, will be considered as being a business, and as such will need to be officially registered as a form of publication. This means that Beppe Grillo’s blog, and possibly this one, will need to be registered as official publications under Italian law, and thus be placed under official control. This means that in theory bloggers cannot say what they want without risking being taken to court. It also means that Italy’s politicos can keep an eye on things and stamp hard when they feel like it.
This proposed new law is a little odd, seeing as Italian bloggers have already been taken to court for saying a little too much about certain people.
Basically, this new proposal to gag bloggers smells of being a dressed up version of the original Levi/Prodi proposal which caused such a storm that it was dropped like a hot cake.
Indeed, this law has been passing though the motions almost silently. Too silently. Italy’s mainstream media, which is ostensibly controlled by either big business or politicians, have, perhaps unsurprisingly, remained rather quiet about this attempt to control free speech in Italy.
Italy’s Bloggers are on the Move
Italy’s blogger’s are moving and there is already a Facebook group to publicize this worrying violation of human rights:
The group is Italian and in Italian, and despite it being formed only a few days ago, it now has nearly 5,000 members, including me.
Heck, the UK monarchy is heaps more democratic than Italy, which is on what now appears to be toilet paper, a republic.
Obama, please remind Italy it is a republic and a democracy.