New bill threatens freedom of speech in Italy

Italian journalists are protesting the proposed Alfano law, which would
limit the media and prohibit them from reporting any information about
criminal investigations before they go to trial.

Media researcher Benedetta Brevini said in a Guardian article that Europe should protect freedom of speech in Italy.

Editor’s Weblog reports:

“As the International Press Institute specified on Friday, the bill foresees “a penalty of up to 464,700 Euros for publishers and up to 20,000 Euros for journalists who flout the ban.”  The bill would also ban recording or filming of individuals without their approval and proposes prison sentences for those who disobey, as well as forbidding wiretaps unless investigators can prove that a crime has been committed. “Critics have suggested the move has more to do with the desire of politicians to avoid embarrassing allegations about their private lives than with the stated intent to protect ordinary citizens’ privacy,” the IPI noted.”
“Brevini suggests that the law has been proposed in response to cases involving phone taps on prominent politicians, prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and industry minister Claudio Scajola, who was forced to resign, rather than in actual defence of individual privacy. She believes that “wiretaps are fundamental tools for investigators to find evidence for serious crimes” and says that many high-profile mafia bosses would not have been arrested without them.”

“In Italy, the current prime minister has an unusually high level of media control, particularly over television, which is a very influential medium in the country.”