Italy: New draft law endangers bloggers' freedom of expression

By EDRi · July 28, 2010

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Deutsch: [Italien: Neuer Gesetzesentwurf gefährdet Meinungsfreiheit von Bloggern |]

A group of Italian bloggers and journalists have made an appeal “No Legge
Bavaglio alla rete” (No Gag Law to the Net) to support the campaign
against a draft law that will add new barriers to freedom of expression on
the Internet. The draft law, called Wiretapping Bill which is going to be
discussed by the Italian Parliament on 29 July 2010, has raised many
concerns from magistrates and journalists as well.

The present appeal refers to Article 1, paragraph 29 of the bill which
extends the rectification obligation of the written
press to all online publishers, including bloggers. According to the
respective paragraph, “those responsible for information websites” will be
obliged to post corrections within 48 hours from any complaint regarding
website content (whether blog, opinion, comment or simple information), in
the same form in which the contested content was originally put online. In
case of non-compliance, the authors face fines of up to 25 000 euro.

An amendment to the paragraph was introduced by deputies Roberto Cassinelli
and Roberto Zaccaria trying to soften the initial text, by proposing a
longer period for the publication of the rectification and a 10 times lower
fine. Among the changes introduced by the amendment there was the annulment
of the rectification obligation for those web sites which had a limited
number of visitors. Unfortunately, on 21 July 2010, the amendment was
considered unacceptable, from a procedural point of view, and rejected
without justification by Giulia Bongiorno, President of the Parliamentary
Justice Commission.

Besides the limitation to the freedom of expression, forcing bloggers to
rectify within 48 hours will lead to closing down many of the blogs as this
will practically be an impossible task. This implies that a blogger must
register with a legal domicile with some authority, facing the same
bureaucratic formalities as the written press and that he (she) will have to
connect to the Internet every single day in order to check whether there is
a request for correction and place the correction in due time. This would
definitely discourage bloggers who will hesitate to write on economical or
political issues that might bother certain personalities.

Italian Internet users and bloggers are decided to increase their protest
against the law in an attempt to influence the Italian Parliament in its
decision, that could be taken on 29 July 2010.

“The Bill cannot be allowed to pass as it currently stands. We demand full
and open Parliamentary debate on Article 1, paragraph 29 of the Bill,
including consideration of the above amendments. Access to the Internet is
set to become a fundamental human right in hundreds of countries around the
world. We cannot force citizens to renounce that right here in our country,”
says the appeal “No Legge Bavaglio alla Rete”.

DDL interceptions, amendment rejected (only in Italian, 23.07.2010)

That paragraph 29 kills blogs.We call it unacceptable! (only in Italian,

No to the Law gagging the Net (24.07.2010)

With one swift attack – gagging the Web (only in Italian, 23.07.2010)

Italy: Internet press freedom under threat (27.07.2010)