Italian bloggers’ strike

Today, July 14th, some Italian bloggers will not write. They will protest against the Italian government that is issuing a series of new laws that could limit the freedom of expression online in Italy. There is a ning dedicated to the people that will protest: Diritto alla Rete.

Freedom of expression has never been strong in Italy. Our political culture and our political system are hardly those that you should find in a mature democracy. Catholic and communist parties have dominated most of the republican history, in Italy, while fascist parties have never really disappeared. Political violence and obscure maneuvering have been endemic in our strange country. Informal economy and criminal organizations have always been important and tolerated by governments.

But in the last 15 years, a new reinterpretation of the same old nondemocratic system has come out, based on the peculiar concentration of media power in the hands of one political leader. This has has not been felt fair in terms of political competition and has led to a very angry kind of debate.

In this context, the internet has been seen as the one tool to generate free and independent media that could give a fresh view to the Italian situation.

Some projects of laws have been proposed by the present government that could harm this internet freedom. And bloggers want to protest against them. Those possible laws are not clearly meant to block freedom of expression, but could end up limiting that freedom by generating uncertainty and fear in those that should be writing about what they see and think. Of course, bloggers could improve their ability to write and contribute to democracy, but what they do is important.

In a better world, they should protest by writing more and better, of course. But this time, some of them has thought that they will keep silent. Silence is not the best form of protest for people that want to talk. And new laws are still unclear. But many people feel that they should do something to help Italy maintain what it has conquered in terms of freedom of expression.