Freedom of press is challenged in Italy

Italian blogger Carlo Ruta has been sentenced for producing an illegal editorial product on appeal by an Italian court. For the first time, remote fears have become a reality: you can be sentenced for stating your opinions online. Here we have the results of the laws passed slowly over 15 years that has eroded freedom of speech in Italy.

According to a law passed in 2007, every blog or website in Italy is to be considered a publication and undergo the same obligations of printed newspapers and magazines. This law allowed for Ruta’s blog ‘Accade in Sicilia’ to fall under an anti-fascist law passed in 1948 that forbids publications that are not registered by the national Communications Authority.

Ruta’s blog is offline since 2004 but accessible on Webarchive.org: it contains information and results of his research about recent history of Sicily, including the homicide of journalist Giovanni Spampinato.

Italian newspaper La Stampa has a brief interview with Ruta where he says he believe he may have touched some nerves with his blog. It’s a sad day for me.

Update: I have discovered that Accade in Sicilia is not the only case. ChiusiNews was also closed, not by a court order but by the intimidation of the powerful Journalist’s Guild. Thanks to Arturo di Corinto for the headsup.