Italian Bloggers No More

Blogging has become, for many of us, a great way to express our feelings, emotions, our thoughts, and our beliefs about all sorts of things. Some blog about cats while others blog about an adoption process. For some, it is just a place to vent the day’s trails and hardships. No matter what the rhyme or reason might be there are millions of blogs that fill the World Wide Web.

What if you weren’t allowed to blog anymore? What if the government told you that you were unable to write your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and beliefs for the whole world to see? What if your thoughts were confined to a pen and paper instead of the cosmos? You might think those are ridiculous questions to ask here in the USA. Perhaps they are. For another country though, they aren’t laughing because that is exactly what has taken place.

In fact, a UK newspaper writes, “Italian bloggers are up in arms at a court ruling early this year that suggests almost all Italian blogs are illegal.” The newspaper continues saying, “This month, a senior Italian politician went one step further, warning that most web activity is likely to be against the law.”

One would think the Italian government wouldn’t waste their time concerned with this but apparently; they are not letting this one go away easily. In fact, bloggers can be fined 250 Euros or receive a prison sentence of up to two years – for owning or writing on a blog.

The issues go back to 1948. Italy has this “Article 21” guaranteeing the right to free expression as long as those who published information would register with the government. After fascism, the intent was to regulate publications that were more extreme than others. This is how the government deals with “freedom of the press.”

In 2001, a new law passed – “Law 62.” This law brings the World Wide Web into the same framework as Article 21. How does one then deal with blogs? Only a highly trained judge can decide that matter – and it was passed. Further thoughts expressed during this time revolved around the Internet itself. One man, The Minister of Justice stated, “current logic means that almost the entire Italian internet, by its very nature, could be considered illegal – “Stampa clandestine” – which is a complete contravention of the democratic rulebook.”

Reading this, you might laugh. At times, so do I. It is sad though. It is sad that people, especially here, in the US, take freedom for granted. It is hard to love something or even appreciate something when it isn’t out of our grasp. I am glad we have the freedom to write and to express what we want. I am glad that I will not be one of five million bloggers in Italy that could be thrown in jail for solely writing their thoughts down for the world to see. I guess I just have to learn to be more thankful for what freedoms I have.

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