Anti-Blogger Law Approved in Italy

Re: Blogs and Freedom of Speech

To the Editor:

Truth is life and seeking it is mandatory for a healthy evolution of mankind.

I am an Italian citizen who is very passionate about ethics and human rights. I recently learned of a new draft of law that was silently being approved in my country by every single Member of Parliament on Oct. 12, and declared that if passed as a bill of law, it would put a firm leash on the Internet by requiring ANY blogger to be registered with the government and pay a tax, even for hobby blogs that have no commercial purpose whatsoever. Yes, my 15-year old niece would have to be a professional journalist to blog about her sweet sixteen party.

It is my opinion that all this sprung from the constant criticism the Italian political class has been under in recent years.

Bloggers like Beppe Grillo and serious journalists like Marco Travaglio, who constantly expose some of them for what they are, have been asking them to leave for the sake of the Italian people who don't want to be represented by selfish and corrupted individuals anymore. Last Sept. 8, in almost every town in our country people took to the streets and signed a petition to change the law with regard to the criminal records of those who govern us and are supposed to lead by example. This petition proposed that any MP who has been found guilty of corruption in a court of law would be prevented from representing the people he once stole from while in office. Quite fair I believe. Last year we learned that the number of such individuals still sitting in Parliament was greater than in any other democratic country in the industrialized world. It doesn't have to be that way. It is not healthy for our children to see us accept this situation. We instinctively know it is not right and no one has to explain why.

The petition has been a success, but in order to curb this cleansing wave of honesty that the Italians seem to be experiencing, these politicians are now making laws to prevent any change that would undermine their prestige.

I thought I was born in a democratic state where freedom of thought and speech were unalienable rights of a human being, but now following examples we all heard of where bloggers from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are now in exile, here comes the modern Roman Empire of convenient truths. Watch out.

Ilaria Meloni
Los Angeles, Calif.