Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Alfano Decree

I haven't seen this referred to anywhere else, but perhaps we should all be aware of it:

"On July 15 around 200 Italian bloggers gathered at the Piazza Navona in Rome. They wore gags to protest a proposed law that is a direct threat to internet freedom in Italy. If passed it could impose heavy fines on bloggers who don't correct 'offensive' comments within 48 hours. Hundreds of other bloggers 'froze' their blog posts for a day in a show of solidarity with the protesters.

"Given the appetite for repressive measures in Italy these days, it's not surprising that Italian bloggers have become a target. Berlusconi and his sycophantic retinue of crypto-fascists, compliant bureaucrats, models-turned-politicians and party girls doesn't like negative attention.

"Italian bloggers are some of his most vociferous critics. Legislative measures are under way to place them on a short leash and possibly put some of them out of business altogether.

"The tactic being employed is the so-called Alfano proposal, named after Justice Minister, Angelino Alfano. But you could also call it an 'internet killer' because in effect it is an attempt to silence and intimidate online critics by means of a law that is at root anti-democratic.

"The Alfano decree has already been approved by Parliament and if passed by the Senate, will become law. The provisions have far-reaching implications for freedom of speech in Italy.

"If a citizen deems a blog post to be defamatory, he or she can lodge an official complaint that could require the blogger to edit the offending content within 48 hours. A blogger's refusal to correct 'offensive' comments would allow the denouncing citizen to sue for as much as $18,000... The effect will be to mute blog content, particularly criticism of government and public figures.

"Bloggers are already liable to penalties in the case of defamation. The Alfano proposal is a bureaucratic tactic that crosses the line and handcuffs bloggers as they sit at their keyboards. It is nothing less than an attack on a fundamental freedom under the guise of 'responsibility'."


Anonymous said...

That sucks big time.

Tangocommuter said...

Elsewhere I read that under this decree the service provider has to take responsibility for material published on its site. As if Google would have the time or resources to vet everything published on Blogger! In any case it's a worrying trend. Even if tango is all you ever talk about!

Anonymous said...

but why did they vote him in again .. unless the majority want a crypto-fascist sleaze bag ...