An interesting study recently issued by the Freedom House (a non profit organization inspired by the ideals of democracy and freedom) positions Italy and another couple of unlucky countries at the bottom of the ladder. Well, kind of - we could say half-way up the ladder - but still quite alarmingly.
New Study: Global Press Freedom Declines in Every Region for First Time Israel, Italy and Hong Kong Lose Free. I report just a couple of passages...
StatusWestern Europe: The region continues to boast the world's highest level of press freedom. However, Italy slipped back into the Partly Free category with free speech limited by courts and libel laws, increased intimidation of journalists by organized crime and far-right groups, and concerns over the concentration of media ownership. Greece also suffered a significant decline.
Fragile Freedoms: Declines in Israel, Italy and Taiwan illustrate that established democracies with traditionally open media are not immune to restricting media freedom. Over the last five years, a number of emerging democracies have also suffered considerable declines in press freedom including: Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Thailand, the Philippines and Senegal.
The other related thing that came up to my mind, and that people outside Italy (but not only) often ignore, is that the italian government a few years back attempted to PUT A BRAKE ON THE INTERNET REVOLUTION, BY WANTING TO CHARGE BLOGGERS. I know it sounds amazingly incredible, especially because it's coming from a country which is part of the G8 (supposedly, the bunch of guys who're 'leading' - whatever that means). This piece of news was covered by the times online some time ago - here's an excerpt:
Recently, Italian lawmakers once again took aim at modern life, introducing an incredibly broad law that would effectively require all bloggers, and even users of social networks, to register with the state. Even a harmless blog about a favourite football squad or a teenager grousing about life’s unfairness would be subject to government oversight, and even taxation – even if it’s not a commercial website.
Outside Italy, the legislation has generated sniggers from hardly sympathetic industry observers. Boingboing cleverly reports Italy is proposing a “Ministry of Blogging.” Out-law.com plays it straighter, calling the measure an “anti-blogger” law.
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Cite this blog post:
New Perspectives on Medieval Scotland: 1093-1286, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer, Studies in Celtic History Series, Aug 2013.