|This article is outdated. (January 2013)|
The Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law calculated that in 2006, a higher proportion of Italians had had their phones tapped than citizens of any other European country. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his allies have been subject of a number of wire-taps which have been published. For instance, in December 2007 the audio recording of a phone call between Berlusconi, then leader of the opposition parties, and Agostino Saccà (general director of RAI) were published by the magazine L'espresso, attracting strong criticism of Berlusconi from several media sources.
The law was proposed by the Berlusconi IV Cabinet and presented by Italian Minister of Justice Angelino Alfano in 2008, approved by the Camera in 2009, then modified by the Italian Senate and brought up again for approval at the Camera in October 2011. Supporters argued that courts were authorising the practice of wiretapping too often, and that the media should not be privy to the results. Berlusconi said in 2010 that legislation was necessary to protect the privacy of Italian citizens.
The proposed bill would have empowered anyone who believes themselves to have been offended by the content of a publication or website, even if the content were true, to enforce publication of a reply, uneditable and uncommented, in the same place and with equal prominence of the related content, with no right of protest against the requested rewrite or any inaccuracies contained, within 48 hours and without any prior evaluation of the claim by a judge. If after 48 hours the reply hadn't been published, the person requesting the reply may eventually appeal to a civil court which would assess the request and evaluate the disputed content. The sanction would be a fine between €9,500 and €12,000. According to editors of the Italian Wikipedia:
- "neutrality, freedom, and verifiability of [Wikipedia's] contents are likely to be heavily compromised by paragraph 29 of a law proposal, also known as "DDL intercettazioni" (Wiretapping Act). This proposal, which the Italian Parliament is currently debating, provides, among other things, 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."
- "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 would have the right for a statement ("correction") to be shown, unaltered, on the page, aimed to contradict and disprove the allegedly harmful contents, regardless of the truthfulness of the information deemed as offensive, and its sources."
Strikes and protests
Italian journalists went on strike on 9 July 2010, in protest over the wiretapping bill.
All pages on the Italian version of Wikipedia on 4 October 2011 were redirected to a statement opposing the proposed legislation. The statement is available in Italian, English, Catalan, Esperanto, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish.
- "Camera dei Deputati: disegno di legge N. 1415-B" (PDF) (in Italian). Camera dei Deputati. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2011. (English translation)
- "Inchiesta Berlusconi "Saccà va sospeso" L'ex premier: "Solleva il morale del Capo"". la Repubblica (in Italian). 13 December 2007.
- Scheme of the parliamentary procedures (which started on 30 June 2008).
- The text formerly (11 June 2009) approved by the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
- The text modified by the Senate (10 June 2010).
- Italian bill to limit wiretaps draws fire. BBC News. 11 June 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- "Italian journalists strike over Berlusconi wiretap bill". BBC News. 9 July 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- "Camera dei Deputati: disegno di legge N. 1415-B" (PDF). Camera dei Deputati (in Italian). Retrieved 4 October 2011.
- "Wikimedia blog » Blog Archive » Regarding recent events on Italian Wikipedia". Blog.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
- "Wikipedia:Comunicato 4 ottobre 2011 ("Communication 4 October 2011")". Italian Wikipedia. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- Hooper, John (27 September 2011). "Italy's bloggers to protest over 'fascist' right to reply bill". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Taylor, Adam (4 October 2011). "Wikipedia Shuts Down Italian Site In Response To Berlusconi's New Wiretap Act" Business Insider. Retrieved 5 October 2011