Monday, 13 May 2013

Blogger Persecution Underway in Italy

22 commenters on Beppo Grillo's blog have been charged with “Offesa all’onore e al prestigio del Presidente della Repubblica".   The comments, which are described as extremely damaging to the honour and prestige of Giorgio Napolitano, were posted a year ago and have been the object of investigation by the Polizia Postale* and involve bloggers throughout Italy as well as those using servers abroad. 

The minister of Justice in the Letta/Berlusconi/Napolitano administration  (formerly minister of the Interior in the Monti/Napolitano administration)  gave the go-ahead for the charges reports Il Fatto Quotidiano Prosecutors  in an evenly spread net across Italy will now be taking forward the proceedings, doubtless aided by their postal collaborators.

*Postal Police?  How many kinds of police does Italy have?  They must have the ten o'clock police and even the eleven o'clock police who come and get you if you're still in your jamas.


Raedwald said...

Very worrying, HG.

The wording of the offence will be critical to see if, for example, a UK Blogger using a US platform (Blogger) available to read in Italy who grossly insults the President can also be prosecuted. If so, the European Arrest Warrant will permit Italy to extradite without hearing anyone from anywhere in the EU ...

Anonymous said...

Raedwald has seen it, just what I was thinking.
The death of democracy?

No, we never had it but what paltry liberty, rights and justice we did have - blows away into the ether. Trumpery of Trumped up charges - didn't we fight in 1939-45 to rid ourselves of a petty tyrant who ended his days up a lamp-post?

Jeff Wood said...

I too have been impressed with the number of different kinds of cop in Italy. We can add this to a growing list:

Guardia Finanza

(I cannot remember the name of the Coastguard service, but they should be separate anyway.)

I don't know about your latest discovery, HG, but most of the rest are armed. I was fuming to a retired Carabiniere about the lousy muzzle discipline by a lass, Statale I think, toting a sub machine gun in a service station.

Flavio, a medalled hero who was retired on medical grounds after an appalling affair which killed his partner, erupted like Vesuvius. "Three weeks training and they give them a gun! You might as well arm infants!"

I fear I poked Flavio's chronic dyspepsia. He has been rumbling like Etna ever since. We have been holding off on his introducing me to the local pistol club: he fears I may go off like long-ago Santorini when I see the range safety standards.

a musician said...

The 12 o' clock police are the ones to be feared the most if you're not up and dressed. Bells announce their arrival.

When there was still compulsory military service, three weeks training and they gave the guns to the little chaps (eighteen year olds) to keep, even when they were on leave at home, making them promise to dismantle the gun and hide the various parts in different places around the house, so it couldn't be stolen. Top security there...

Nick Drew said...

never mind a UK Blogger using a US platform (Blogger) available to read in Italy - what about our HG ?!

hatfield girl said...

There are 22 people indicted and to be tried for commenting on Grillo's blog (which is more the basis of the 5 Star political movement than a blog and, together with the interpersonal meet-ups held locally, regionally and nationally, forms the support for the largest single party elected to the Italian parliament last February) ie there is an attack organised using state institutions to undermine the 5 Stars.

Another blogger, mainly concerned with reporting on the degradation of Rome and its hinterland, with an enormous following full of information and names on corruption at every level, has been condemned to nine months in prison and the blog blacked-out.

The 'vilipendio' - insults - to the 'honour of Napolitano' refer to a horrifying series of intercepts on his negotiations with mafia leaders which have now been destroyed on his orders and despite their being part of an ongoing corruption trial. Bloggers were doing what is done best by blogs - offering pieces of information that, taken together, provided understanding otherwise inaccessible. It's not calling Napolitano names, its providing devastating pieces of the jigsaw and thus showing up behaviour.

As the judiciary closes-in on Berlusconi the violence of the reactions and the embeddedness of mafia, state officers to the highest level, and their levels of lawlessness, is displayed.

Huffington Post and Repubblica are now leading on the assault on blogs, their authors and freedom of speech and information which is ostensibly guaranteed under various articles of the Constitution.

You're all quite right - it's vindictive and quite threatening to individuals as well as movements and what are regarded as disruptive organisations

Caronte said...

Careful, HG! the destroyed phone tappings were conversations between Napolitano and ex-Minister Mancino, who was being prosecuted as false witness in connection with Mafia-State negotiations. There are no tappings and no evidence of Napolitano's conversations with mafia people.

hatfield girl said...

Right-o. All proper discrimination between known and unknown actions accepted.

We're now being given finely-written-in-green-ink distinctions between 'criticism' (tick) and 'insult' (prosecution). Very Communist-thought - 'criticism' is. And who decides which is which?

And why isn't 'condemnation', never mind 'criticism' under consideration as the activity that's causing the outrage? After all, its 'condemnation' after due consideration by all of us (and the fact that it's us, the mass us, the hoi polloi of the internet is itself generating a how dare you? response) of a public lifetime that is often mis-identified as 'insult'.

Nick Drew said...

of course here in Blighty, you can come out the other side of 'insult' to the relative safety of Vulgar Abuse

has Spitting Image been tried in Italy ? (ambiguity intended)