Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'll Try and Explain

Several of my blog buddies have been asking what exactly the fuss was about yesterday here in Italy. Why the "strike" and what exactly were bloggers "striking" for or against.

As I mentioned I do not get involved in politics here or normally voice an opinion on them - as a guest I do not have either the right or the gall to do so. But here is a bit of background and a quote which I hope will shed some light on the matter.

Il disegno di legge Alfano
, is a complicated piece of legislation and my take on it is perforce simplistic. Many feel that it will compromise the work of the judiciary here to fight organized crime. It would impose gags of one type or other on information and imposes fines on journalists and publishers for "misinformation" which is not "rectified" within a set period of time. It has been extended to include information of any type disseminated on the internet.

The following is a translation of an item that appeared on Diritto di critica (Right to Criticize):
The latest criticism came finally from the net. The DDL is also the talk of the Internet. As already mentioned in a previous post, the text introduces Ordinance l "the obligation" to correct any item on request of an 'offended' person within 48 hours, otherwise there will be a fine imposed from 7500 to € 12,000 which applies to all owners of information sites. It also reintroduces the offense of incitement to civil disobedience, by which it will be possible without the intervention of the Judiciary, to intimidate and silence any voice of dissent.

Guido Scorza, lawyer, journalist, blogger and expert on right to information and new technologies, says that with this rule will be touch social networks like My Space or Facebook, but also video and search sites such as Youtube and Google, not to mention the millions of those blogging. The lawyer says that in the ddl Alfano the government wishes to expand the "right to correct" which now apply to the press and TV to all information services. ..... The journalist sees it as an act of intimidation, designed to frighten and to shock with exorbitant fines, the millions of Internet users and bloggers who write, disseminate, or even share information and video networking, consequently forcing them to close.

Beppe Giulietti, parliamentarian, journalist and founder of the website Article 21, gives a very similar reading and also lists three areas where the decree violates existing laws:

1. The proposed rule is in violation of one of the fundamental principles expressed in our Constitution (Article 21 Constitution) that allows the free expression of thought in all its forms except in the case of any activity contrary to morality.
2. In the case of information conveyed through sites as "non-traditional", the standard in force (art. 16 D. Lgs. 70/2003) states that the service provider (hoster) is not responsible for the content stored unless it is illegal content. "Illegal content" means content that is contrary to the law: content that is not truthful or harmful to another person is not always "illegal".
3. Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which enshrines the right to freedom of expression, among which we mention the freedom to receive information (from sources of news), is protected from interference by public authority.
Again I cannot begin to unravel the various threads that complicate this whole question as with most things political here it is neither black or white; nor can I presume to voice an opinion about it. I took part yesterday as a show of support for the many blogger friends I have here and I thank all my friends in other places who voiced their support.

15 luglio - San Bonaventura da Bagnoregio

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