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Wikipedia Censorship Government The Media

Italian Wikipedia May Shut Down Due To New Legislation 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the citation-not-needed-if-it-bugs-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Proposed legislation under debate in Italy has Wikipedia warning of a shutdown for the Italian version of the site. They say the law would create 'a requirement to all websites to publish, within 48 hours of the request and without any comment, a correction of any content that the applicant deems detrimental to his/her image.' They further explain. 'Unfortunately, the law does not require an evaluation of the claim by an impartial third judge — the opinion of the person allegedly injured is all that is required, in order to impose such correction to any website. Hence, anyone who feels offended by any content published on a blog, an online newspaper and, most likely, even on Wikipedia can directly request the removal of such contents and its permanent replacement with a "corrected" version, aimed to contradict and disprove the allegedly harmful contents, regardless of the truthfulness of the information deemed as offensive, and its sources.'"
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Italian Wikipedia May Shut Down Due To New Legislation

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  • by GrahamCox (741991) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:21AM (#37608314) Homepage
    There, I think I just got Slashdot shut down...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:24AM (#37608320)
      You misspelled "cunt"
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Berlusconi's a cunt

      FTFY: Il Duce's a cunt.

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        Replace "In Soviet Russia..." with "In Italy..."

        But it would be suitable to shut down the Italian Wikipedia - at least for a while - to specify that there is a problem. The big problem is "without any comment", not the change - since Wikipedia has a history with the old pages accessible for those that want to have the uncensored version.

        As for Wikipedia, it also depends on where the servers are located.

        From a political point of view this seems to be primarily aimed at protecting high-ranking politicians fro

        • by peppepz (1311345) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @01:13AM (#37608606)

          The big problem is "without any comment", not the change

          The problem is also in the "within 48 hours" part. You can't have a blog and go on vacation without risking *massive* fines when you're back if somebody got offended by what you wrote on it while you weren't checking your email.

          In Italy, using anti-defamation laws to intimidate honest journalists is a national sport (that's why we have so few free reporters). This law will make this practice "a commodity", so that even normal citizens will think twice before saying something about anyone over the web (not only high-ranking politicians - it's especially low-ranking people, think e.g snake oil vendors, who resort to these means to defend their lawn).

          • There was a very famous case in the UK where an associasion of homeopaths sued a journalist for libel after he wrote an article pointing out that their medicines are nothing but water and utterly ineffective.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              I realize that after reading what happens here you may think this is the Banana Republic, but until Mr. B. manages to rip all the laws and the constitution, we still have a decent law corpus (ok, besides the things to go way back to the Duce and the Romans...)

              What you describe can happen anytime also in Italy. Laws to protect people from defamation are already in place. The difference is that only a *judge* can force you to take down a page while waiting for a trial.

              With this piece of law, you have to do it

              • With this piece of law, you have to do it immediately (48 hours) and publish whatever the offended party send you to publish.

                What if the offended party sends you something to publish which offends yet another party?

                • With this piece of law, you have to do it immediately (48 hours) and publish whatever the offended party send you to publish.

                  What if the offended party sends you something to publish which offends yet another party?

                  Resort to castor oil.

              • by AmiMoJo (196126)

                Just claim their message defames you, then you will be forced by yourself to take the message down and replace it with one of your own within 48 hours.

            • And they lost. It probably shouldn't have taken so long, but the result was right in the end.

        • by mcavic (2007672)

          As for Wikipedia, it also depends on where the servers are located.

          Yes. This should be a no-brainer: just get an overseas host. Preferably here in the US, since I can't think of a more suitable country for free speech.

      • Berlusconi's a cunt

        FTFY: Il Duce's a cunt.

        Instant karma!!! Italy credit rating slashed by Moody's from Aa2 to A2 [bbc.co.uk]

    • by circletimessquare (444983) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [erauqssemitelcric]> on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @01:10AM (#37608588) Homepage Journal

      Berlusconi è uno sticchiu

      fixed it for you

  • So if an opposition politician puts in complaints about official websites then he gets to rewrite them? Or would it be limited to the websites of political parties as a means of political chaos? I think they just invented a new national sport.
    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      New?

      Count the number of Italian governments since '45. It's the most common national sport in Italy to have a chaotic political situation.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        The Italians should learn a lesson from the Belgians; they've had no political chaos for about one and a half year now.

    • Re:Politics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anarchduke (1551707) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @02:51AM (#37609074)
      Yeah I had the same thought. or even ... all the members of the notorious Anonymous could submit a constant stream of corrections they find offensive, and as soon as the site gets re-written, another member can claim that re-write is offensive. In fact, some industrious trolling could completely collapse the .it domain. And what about search results? Is there a bing or google search result that is offensive? People might be able to make constant, non-stop requests that search results be edited because the results were offensive.

      I am overwhelmed at the potential for electronic mayhem that this law provides. There are so many ways, so many things. Its like, Italy is making the Internet Troll an official part of their government!
  • Problem solved (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rcw-home (122017) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:25AM (#37608322)
    If someone who is offended can require a correction be made without comment, then surely anyone else can be offended by the correction and have it reverted - without comment.
    • by Mindflux0 (2447336) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:38AM (#37608430)

      If someone who is offended can require a correction be made without comment, then surely anyone else can be offended by the correction and have it reverted - without comment.

      I am offended by your mocking of our laws, I demand you correct your defamatory statements with the much more accurate:

      If someone who is offended can require a correction be made, the internet and world as a whole will be such a nicer happier place. With rainbows and ice cream for everyone.

      Sincerely, The Italian Parliament

      • by Fluffeh (1273756)

        If someone who is offended can require a correction be made, the internet and world as a whole will be such a nicer happier place. With rainbows and ice cream for everyone.

        I am offended by your mocking of rainbows and icecream, I demand you correct your defamatory statements with the much more accurate:

        If someone who is offended can require a correction be made, the internet and world as a while will be such a nicer happier place. With kittens and jelly beans for everyone.

        Sincerely, The Italian Parliament.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        If someone who is offended can require a correction be made, the internet and world as a whole will be such a nicer happier place. With rainbows and ice cream for everyone.

        I'm offended by that!
        Please apply the following correction within 48 hours:

        If someone who is offended can require a correction be made without comment, then surely anyone else can be offended by the correction and have it reverted - without comment.

    • Re:Problem solved (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:38AM (#37608436)

      It's Italy, so there's a very good chance that Berlusconi's media empire will have some sort of immunity or loophole available to it.

    • by mooingyak (720677)

      If someone who is offended can require a correction be made without comment, then surely anyone else can be offended by the correction and have it reverted - without comment.

      Not quite that simple to get around. It has to be something about you that you find offensive. It doesn't matter if you find something written about someone else offensive (at least as far as this law is concerned anyway).

      • by rcw-home (122017) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:55AM (#37608522)

        Not quite that simple to get around. It has to be something about you that you find offensive.

        It's possible something was lost in the Wikipedia translation, but their wording was "any content that the applicant deems detrimental to his/her image", not "about the applicant". The sky is the limit.

        • "I saw this person on the street once. Are you saying that I once saw someone who didn't sniff coke off a dead hooker? Outraged, I am!"

        • by Chrisq (894406)

          Not quite that simple to get around. It has to be something about you that you find offensive.

          It's possible something was lost in the Wikipedia translation, but their wording was "any content that the applicant deems detrimental to his/her image", not "about the applicant". The sky is the limit.

          In other words a comment like "All Lawyers are stupid" would have to be corrected to "All non-Italian Lawyers are stupid" because Italian lawyers could find the statement detrimental to the image.

      • by Fjandr (66656)

        I find it offensive that you have stated I might find something offensive. Obviously, "you" refers specifically to me, and therefore you must state that I cannot be offended, or I will continue to be offended.

        Offensively yours,

        Me

    • by mgiuca (1040724)

      So basically, if you take that idea to its logical conclusion, you would have.... Wikipedia?

    • More to the point, anybody can be offended about anything, so we best swamp all major italian websites (news papers, government websites, ...) with complaints. Make them as silly as possible. Make them as offensive to further 3rd parties as possible. By law, they are forced to publish them. Do this for a couple of weeks, and watch the Italian web grind to a painful halt.

      Btw, to which address should the request be sent? Many websites have no obvious webmaster address, and often the addresses in whois are un

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      If someone who is offended can require a correction be made without comment, then surely anyone else can be offended by the correction and have it reverted - without comment.

      Great law. At last I can do something about the comments that imply that I am not always right and the greatest person in the universe. That's my wife's blog gone for a start!

  • You know you can host websites not in Italia only, don't you?
    • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @01:02AM (#37608554)
      First I modded this up, now I'm back to post.

      Seriously - don't host in Italy, and who cares?

      Do you think the Wikipedia page on North Korea confoms to the laws of North Korea? The wikipedia article itself, in the span of two sentences, shows that it's not a legal article there:

      In its 2010 report, Reporters Without Borders ranked the freedom of the press in North Korea as 177th out of 178, above only that of Eritrea.[136] Only news that favors the regime is permitted...

      I don't hear anyone threatening to pull it down.

      The law itself is abysmal, but there's no reason for it to affect Wikipedia. It strikes me that in making this claim, Wikipedia is taking up a political fight. Wikipedia is not in any danger from the law, they're theatrically threatening to pull out, despite being unaffected, in order to draw attention to this. I'm against this abhorrent and ridiculous law, but I'm not in favor of Wikipedia making exaggerated claims and throwing its weight around on political issues.

      • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @01:42AM (#37608754)

        Seriously - don't host in Italy, and who cares?

        Perhaps Italians who have to live in Italy, just might be subject to Italian no matter where they hosts and are probably strongly represented in the group of people who administrate Italian Wikipedia??

        • by Mhtsos (586325)

          If that were the case people in Italy administering or writing on the English version of Wikipedia would be faced with the same problem... and you would be able to keep supporting Italian Wikipedia with contributors from outside Italy.

          • by Teancum (67324) <(robert_horning) (at) (netzero.net)> on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @04:50AM (#37609658) Homepage Journal

            I agree with this proposition, that the language being edited is irrelevant. The issue here is how it impacts collaborative writing projects involving Italian citizens rather than simply a particular language edition of Wikipedia.

            What is significant here is that the Italian language version of the the project generally already conforms to Italian law in part because the policies have been established by people who are familiar with that country's laws. The threat here is that the volunteers are suggesting a nuclear/scorched earth option that if they are not going to be legally permitted to edit or maintain Wikipedia, that they simply want to get rid of the whole project altogether. At least that is my gist of what the threat listed on the Italian language edition [wikipedia.org] of Wikipedia is trying to say.

            Even more significant, the volunteers at the Italian language edition of Wikipedia hosted a 24 hour "blackout" after considerable discussion [wikipedia.org] that was supported by the greater Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees [wikimedia.org] that essentially gave a blank check support to the Italian language volunteers as well as the "Wikimedia Italia" local chapter in their fight on this particular issue. While it may not be strictly necessary to shut down the project in America, the net effect is essentially the same if the volunteer community simply pulls the plug.

            Since many people in Italy use Wikipedia as a resource in their native language, the volunteers want the Italian people to realize just how serious this issue is to them, and how a very valuable resource can simply disappear if this law is allowed to stand. In that sense, I think this "blackout" was a very good idea. The real "news for nerds" isn't the law... even if that is the trigger... but the fact that Wikipedia blanked itself out yesterday and this morning (depending on what time zone you live in) with the Italian language edition.

            The fact that legally speaking it seems like we are moving into a world where the lowest common denominator seems to be prevailing in terms of how you conduct yourself with international projects on the internet, this is an issue even with other language editions of Wikipedia or for that matter even Slashdot.... assuming Italian citizens participate with posts here. In the case of Slashdot, they are going to be forced by the Italian law to respond to any potential slander or "misrepresentation of fact" by removing content in a fashion similar to the DMCA. Note that the DMCA only covers blatant copyright violations, where as this law covers much more (hence the slander or "misrepresentation" issues) where take-down notices can be filed for practically any reason at all and must be dealt with or you will be facing international legal injunctions that might be recognized by American courts due to "intellectual property" treaties.

            There is some real teeth in the issue here, and one that sadly might start impacting other websites over time as well. Even worse, there seems to be a tendency for laws of this nature to spread to other countries, where there certainly are several Europhiles in the American government who love to adopt laws like this into American society once they have been established "over there". This is a canary in a coalmine, so to say, and the canary is dying. At stake here is the concept of free speech altogether, especially for such a seductive concept for the expansion of government authority over the printed word.

        • I don't think prosecuting a username would be a particularly effective means of enforcement, and with the hosting outside their jurisdiction it's hard to see how they could force Italian Wikipedia to reveal anyone's IP address.
  • by bky1701 (979071) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:28AM (#37608354) Homepage
    ...allowed in the European Union? It really compromises the image of the whole entity that they have no problem with this absurd level of corruption. This is obviously another censorship/media control ploy by Berlusconi, and I wouldn't be surprised if this was specifically designed to hurt Wikipedia.
    • by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:40AM (#37608444)

      This is definitely an issue, but their justice system is a joke and their politicians have immunity from prosecution IIRC. As long as those facts remain facts there is little hope of Italy joining the modern world. I mean hell, they still try people in absentia and expect to extradite the convicted afterwards.

      • by DMiax (915735)

        If you are referring to Cesare Battisti, hed nominated his lawyers and sent testimony to his trial. He also had the option to attend the trial any time, but decided not to. The trial was deemed just by the EU supreme court: he should be in prison by international law.

        There have been and there are many wrongs in Italy but this is not one. The discredit that we erned with the current politicians hurts us even when we are in the right.

      • by xenobyte (446878) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @04:21AM (#37609500)

        Actually in most countries the politicians in parliament have immunity, but will take a vote on removing it on a case by case basis. This means that the immunity is more or less symbolic in these cases, but if you do like the Italians do and never vote on it, the immunity becomes very real. Berlusconi had a law added that makes it impossible to remove the immunity on the prime minister (himself) or a former such (again himself), but this law might be eliminated when he loses power.

        You can think that Berlusconi is dirty and corrupt and abuses his power to avoid prosecution, but the other side of the coin is that his enemies fight equally dirty and use every means to impeach, accuse and obstruct, and any leader needs some form of protection against things like this or we end up with mob rule and chaos.

        Italy is a very polarized country. They have a decent sized Communist Party (one of the last in Europe) and at least two extreme-right fascist parties, one of which is the very one that was aligned with Hitler and which is headed by the granddaughter of the very man that partnered with Hitler: Benito Mussolini. Her name is Alessandra Mussolini. The polarization is only surpassed by the amount of corruption as Italy is one of the most corrupt countries in Europe. Perhaps that's why a civil war hasn't broken out yet - people haven't been bribed enough to take up arms... ;)

        • ... but this law might be eliminated when he loses power.

          AFAIK that law is already removed.

          The polarization is only surpassed by the amount of corruption as Italy is one of the most corrupt countries in Europe. Perhaps that's why a civil war hasn't broken out yet - people haven't been bribed enough to take up arms... ;)

          Many things are strange in Italy, the north is the richest region of Europe, and the south is the poorest region of Europe (and yes that includes Rumania in the south and Skandinavia and Swi

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      ...allowed in the European Union?

      They may not be for much longer. Germany and France might decide that it's not worth bailing out Greece and Italy.

    • by hydrofix (1253498) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @01:38AM (#37608728)

      ...allowed in the European Union? It really compromises the image of the whole entity that they have no problem with this absurd level of corruption. This is obviously another censorship/media control ploy by Berlusconi, and I wouldn't be surprised if this was specifically designed to hurt Wikipedia.

      Very good question. I have been worried about the situation in Italy for long. The country is ruled by a media-controlling Prime Minister, while the parliament is paralyzed by deep corruption, reckless spending and robbing the tax money. And, I mean really, really unbelievable stuff, like the mayor of a small province earning more than the President of the United States [dailymail.co.uk].

      I think EU is essentially in the cross-roads of three alternative paths:

      1. Keep going on like this, from crisis to crisis, with disparity in levels of democracy and wealth between different parts of the Union.
      2. Turn in to a Federation, subordinating national parliaments to one Federal Parliament in Brussels.
      3. Split into two or more sub-Unions (Corrupt South, Torn East and Prosperous North).

      I feel like the second path is the only feasible way to proceed. First option means ever-continuing disparity within the Union, which will stall its political and economic development forever. Third option is a solution, but not a very constructive one. It would mean a new divide in Europe, akin to the times of the Cold War, and a step back of over seven decades politically.

      If EU became a Federation with a corpus of Federal Law, and national legislation became subject to repeal by Federal courts, it would truly make EU a uniform, legally homogenous area, where all EU citizens and businesses would really have equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities from the shores of Black Sea in Romania to the Atlantic cliffs in Ireland, and from the tip of Gibraltar in Iberia to the rural fells of Lapland. Doing business and living in Europe would become ever more easier, as human rights would be universally respected.

      Maybe the current crisis will have only one possible outcome: the establishment of the Federal Government of the European Union.

      • by jez9999 (618189)

        There would still be a million different languages. As much as some might want to ignore that, it's a massive barrier to very close European union. Until there is a 'European' language, it aint gonna happen. Different countries must, and will, maintain their sovereignty.

    • ...allowed in the European Union? It really compromises the image of the whole entity that they have no problem with this absurd level of corruption. This is obviously another censorship/media control ploy by Berlusconi, and I wouldn't be surprised if this was specifically designed to hurt Wikipedia.

      Because the EU is almost entirely a economic union, and hasn't been given authority in the general political, judicial or social areas.

    • by julesh (229690)

      Unfortunately for the rest of us, Italy is a member for a very solid reason: they were one of the founder members of the EEC. It's hard to justify kicking them out of an organisation that was founded by the Treaty of Rome.

    • by Kensai7 (1005287)

      Well said. The EU should protect its members more than the national governments. I don't trust either completely, but one checking the other is good.

    • by orzetto (545509)
      Italy was never "allowed in". Italy is a founding member (along with France, Germany and Benelux) and was never held to any standard for joining. As an Italian I am pretty sure that if we were to be kicked out of the EU we would take the place behind Turkey in the line to come back in.
    • The whole point of the EU is to keep the leaders on speaking terms, no matter what happens and no matter how great the disagreement.

      Although the U in EU suggests we're a union, we actually are not. Although Brussels thinks it has a lot of power, and constantly tries to get more power, the reality is that any country can do whatever they want at any time.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      ...allowed in the European Union?

      Don't worry its work in progress. We started with their credit rating .... next it will be their currency .... and then their membership. They can go and start a "Loser's Union" with Greece, Portugal, and Turkey.

  • What's happening (Score:5, Informative)

    by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:29AM (#37608358) Homepage
    First, Berlusconi and his cronies control the traditional media in Italy. Making something difficult for their competitors is in their direct financial interest. This also works well because a major reason they can stay in power are elderly individuals who don't understand and are scared by all this new-fangled technology. At this point, Berlusconi is clearly one of the most corrupt and incompetent politicians ever in Italy. This whole thing would be funny if not for the fact that this womanizing shmuck is in charge of one of the largest economies in Europe during an ongoing financial crisis. It seems to me that this sort of thing might actually be enough for the sane Italians to wake up and realize how fucked up their government is. Th But so far, they've had a lot of crazy crap and haven't yet done so, and Wikipedia itself is not nearly as popular in Italy as it is in some other languages. (For example, the German Wikipedia is extremely popular in the German speaking world.) So I'm pessimistic.
    • by Fjandr (66656)

      Given how corrupt Italian politics are, what makes you think voting will actually change anything, regardless of what the actual vote results are?

    • This whole thing would be funny if not for the fact that this womanizing shmuck is in charge of one of the largest economies in Europe

      Well, at least he is doing something about that.

    • by orzetto (545509)

      It seems to me that this sort of thing might actually be enough for the sane Italians to wake up and realize how fucked up their government is. Th But so far, they've had a lot of crazy crap and haven't yet done so, [...]

      Actually approval ratings for Berlusconi [slashdot.org]">Berlusconi and his coalition are below 25% and 20% respectively. Berlusconi is 6.5% behind in opinion polls [repubblica.it], even if the main opposition party is made out by real-life Jar-Jar Binks.

    • Now we know why they left, the politicians!
  • by jheath314 (916607) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:29AM (#37608362)

    I hope they make good on this threat. Eventually citizens will take a hard look at their leaders when they can no longer have nice things.

    • Re:Good... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @02:03AM (#37608842)

      Italy has been electing Berlusconi since 1994. Losing the Italian Wikipedia doesn't even register as a speedbump in the ongoing disaster that Italians refuse to take personal responsibility for.

    • by SEE (7681)

      They'll look hard, sure. And then what?

  • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @12:30AM (#37608364) Homepage Journal

    ... but the risk is that soon we will be forced to actually delete it.

    Why does a language section of Wikipedia have to close down because of a country? Aren't there enough Italian speaking people outside Italy to matter? Why not just block visitors from Italy (meaning: show them the message that it's the fault of that law that Wikipedia can't work in Italy)?
    Maybe some Italian article would be useful to me even though I'm not Italian nor speak Italian (there are translators). Why does everyone else have to suffer?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pi1grim (1956208)

      To draw the attention to the problem. Trust me, noone cares about the rights untill it comes back to them and bites them in the back soft spot. When most of italians are unable to browse wikipedia and see a disclaimer that due to their laws it is impossible to operate in that country — then it's more likely that this law will be scrapped.

    • Why not just block visitors from Italy (meaning: show them the message that it's the fault of that law that Wikipedia can't work in Italy)?

      Why not just physically host Wikipedia outside of Italy, and then simply ignore this stupid law... all the while firing nuisance corrections against random Italian sites.

      Even better: it.wikipedia.org is already hosted outside of Italy, namely at the Wikimedia's Amsterdam cluster in the Netherlands.

      So, why bother?

  • Seriously why these idiots get elected again and again?
  • So... Italian law might allow anyone to rewrite history on Wikipedia. How is that significantly different than how Wikipedia already functions? If someone is offended by something on Wikipedia, they can submitedit the article. And within 48 hours (seconds actually) it will be present without comment. And then 10 seconds later, someone else will have corrected it back to the truth.

    Where in the law does it say the edit has to stay up?

    • by norpy (1277318)

      When was the last time you tried to edit wikipedia?

      It's pretty much read-only at this point.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        I'm pretty sure that it's only open for deletions and posting [citation needed] at this point. By this time next year they should have the entire Wikipedia deleted.

      • Unless you take a minute to come up with a username and email address to give them...

    • by mikkelm (1000451)

      It just means that the never-ending back and forth with regards to notability, sources and other policy will be legally protected, and impossible to end. Wikipedia couldn't function as an entity if the circlejerk of administrators and reach-around editors couldn't force through their interpretation of policy du jour.

    • by julesh (229690)

      I think it can be taken as read that if the law requires something to be published, the law requires it to remain published. You can't circumvent it by saying "the correction was there for 30 seconds, it's just somebody changed it." It absolutely will have to remain.

      Unfortunately, the law being discussed at the moment simply extends an obligation present in an older law to all Internet sites (it previously only applied to newspsapers). I can't find any detail of the older law, and most of the discussion

  • Not very many steps to "That casts my ancestors in a bad light, and so casts me in a bad light. I am offended."
  • We've had this shit before with Google and Youtube. Italy's Wikipedia doesn't need to be hosted in Italy. They can block it for a while and throw a tantrum, but will come to their senses eventually. If it comes to it, the EU could start an enquiry for violation of its charter; it seems likely free speech is somewhere in there.

  • Italian politicians pop up in the scandals pretty often. I guess they're tired of seeing themselves all over the 'net.

  • I would expect that Wikipedia would be THE ONLY SITE that will be able to comply with this.

    • by Herve5 (879674)

      Exactly!
      All they need to do is quote the new law's text on their first page, and state that anyone offended just can reedit the text, *as a compliance to the law*!

  • And it's not like Wikipedia, nor its "editors" are exactly "neutral" either.

  • by damburger (981828) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @01:53AM (#37608788)

    Italy is just maintaining its hard earned reputation as one of the worst place in the EU to be a journalist:

    http://en.rsf.org/IMG/pdf/carte-2011.pdf

    http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2010,1034.html

  • Do the Italians actually LIKE this guy? Are there no alternatives to vote for? Are the alternatives worse?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NetMassimo (1490357)
      In 2006 Italians were already sick and tired of Berlusconi. The left-wing coalition were already planning a glorious victory, the problem is that it's a coalition formed basically by all politicians screwed by Berlusconi that inclusdes from catholics to communists, people who have in common little more than thair hatred for Berlusconi. Even before the election they were fighting for the best offices in the coming government scaring many people. Eventually they won anyway but they spent two years just bicker
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but it.wikipedia.org isn't hosted in Italy [wikimedia.org]. Ergo, the authorities aren't in a position to fine or arrest anyone posting "defamatory" material... unless an offending editor resident in Italy drops a bit too much identifying material on their personal page. Seems like more of a PITA than a deal breaker.

    • by Teancum (67324)

      Yes, the servers are located in America (Florida specifically), but the problem is that most of the volunteers and certainly the "top" volunteers on the Italian language edition of Wikipedia ("bureaucrats" and "administrators") all live in Italy and thus are subject to Italian law. Furthermore, the "Wikimedia Italia" chapter which is responsible for the fundraising that helps support the Italian language edition of Wikipedia is headquartered in Italy and also subject to Italian law.

      While a protracted fight

  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @03:08AM (#37609146)
    In Germany, it has always been the law that if a newspaper publishes something about you that you think isn't true, they have to publish what you say. So in the next edition you would read something like "We wrote xxx. Mr. X complained about this, and we are required by law to tell you that he claims yyy. This is not necessarily the truth. ".

    The best one I ever read was this followed by "we published the article because we received a declaration under oath that xxx is true. We now also received a declaration under oath that xxx is false. We don't know which one, but we know someone lied under oath and passed both statements to the police."

    It really depends on what exactly this law says. Best case Wikipedia adds a button where any person who feels offended can post what they claim is the truth, without modifying the article.
  • As an Italian I'm absolutely disgusted by the power of anti-defamation laws. These laws result not only in a severe limitation of free speech but also harm all progress. It's very easy to find that your political opponent or your business competitor is defaming you. Threatening with the law is first and then comes suing.

    A likely root to this issue with defamation is "la bella figura". Italians value good appearance and decorum.

    But we Italians basically reduce ourselves to 3rd rate individuals by impos

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