Berlusconi tries law prohibiting reporting on corruption investigation; Italy's press refuses to report any news in protest

Italy's media is going on strike today, and practically no news will be reported. This is in protest of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's plan to ram through anti-wiretapping legislation that includes a gag order on reportage concerning government investigation (especially investigation of corruption).

Berlusconi's notoriously corrupt government has been the subject of numerous scandalous investigations, and the media oligarch previously passed legislation prohibiting the courts from prosecuting him while he was in office (this law was struck down by the courts, prompting Berlusconi to denounce his country's judiciary).

The media would only be able to publish a summary of the findings of an investigation after it had ended. While that may be no more onerous a restriction than applies in Britain, the editor of Italy's biggest-selling daily, Corriere della Sera, Ferruccio de Bortoli, argues it is "a bill tailor-made to shield members of the government from unwelcome investigation".

He added: "If this were a normal country, and there were not these interested attempts to make the work of the prosecutors more difficult, we would be readier to countenance a measure to protect the privacy of individuals."

Silvio Berlusconi's 'gag law' sparks media strike in Italy


      1. “But tell me, why are you voting to stop Italian officials from singing? What have they ever done to you?”

        “Oh, nothing – I don’t even know who’s doing it. I’m just sick and tired of everyone calling us the Sopranos.”

  1. So we complain about corruption of governments in the Middle East, parts of Asia and in Africa that troops and so called ‘UN Peacekeepers’ are sent in but when it happens in a country which is part of the elitist club (the G8) nothing is done about it?

    Isn’t there an old saying about clean up our own trash first before telling others to clean their’s?

  2. wow! now everybody knows about Italy more than he knows about its country. I’m flattered!

    the law project is due to some newspapers leakage of personal infos.
    we agree that we need wiretapping, but they went too far, printing and using calls unrelated to investigations.
    the law prosecutes leakages, not tapping.

    obviously newspapers don’t agree.

    (why the captcha is “some hating?” :D)

    sorry for the bad english.

    1. the law project is due to some newspapers leakage of personal infos.

      Like photos of Berlusconi’s pool parties with topless hookers and foreign ministers wandering around naked with throbbing erections?

  3. The relationship between the press and the government in Italy is kind of the opposite of the relationship they have in the US, don’t you think?

  4. sorry everyone for my bad english, i’m italian :)

    I think it is more than a suspect that this law went out just because Scajola (ex minister of economic development) was discovered to have paid a house (thanks to telephone tapping) 900k euros less than its value, probably as a gift from Anemone, a real estate developer under accusation of public servants bribing.

    There are NO recent cases of privacy violations by telephone tapping. Even when news of some political things that aren’t forbidden by law leaked on papers, these news helped citizen judjing politicians value and moral. I think that citizen deserve to judge their representatives, in order to know for who they are giving their vote.
    I think that a politician who publicize family values and then go with hookers has no credibility even on other things: economy, welfare, development, instruction, etc…
    i would prefer a politician proud to go with hookers!

  5. can’t you stay naked in a friend’s pool?
    can’t you like women? what was other ministries guilt to be published and exposed?


    1. “wwJFKd”?

      Here’s what jfk had to say about the press and state secrecy – what he “did about it”, I don’t know :

      Private parties ought to be private, and cell-phone intercepts ought to remain unpublished (except for exceptions, as always) – there seemed to be some ruckus over such, years ago, involving some Brit Royals, IIRC – but the question has to be, “was the tax-paying public paying for those drinks?”
      If the answer is yes, then evidence of the mis-use of State resources for private pleasures ought to be exposed.
      If the answer is no, then turn off the cameras, but report the fact of the get-together, if the parties cannot manage to keep such under wraps, and let people draw their own conclusions. If they want to.

      But privacy is a fundamental human right: although the Europeans are way ahead of the Americans in this regard, who won’t stand for any expansion of rights beyond what they have grudgingly admitted over the past two centuries, they really ought to effectively protect the privacy of the small fry, before extending the rights to privacy of the big-wigs living off tax revenues.

  6. I’m Italian and this man is the biggest tragedy that’s happened in the collective lives of most Italians.

    It is very very difficult to grasp the situation unless you live/breathe it. For example, most objections to this crook could be washed away by the simple fact that he is (and keeps on being) democratically elected.

    But the underlying process of cultural / moral / social erosion of which he is one of the main culprits underpins Everything in Italian society today.

    Just a small example to explain why similar norms might work elsewhere but not here. WE HAVE NO MORAL SANCTION FOR POLITICIANS. The MP expense scandal in the UK or the various petty affairs that have cost the job of some US civil servants would have passed us by without so much as a raised eyebrow.
    In the other countries it forced parties to reckon with the public’s desire for justice/earnestness….regardless of how good their lawyers were or how much they could bend the law to their advantage.

    My 2 cents is you can write Italy off for the next 15-20 years. (but please, not all Italians!)

  7. On one hand revealing corruption is important


    On the other i feel during an investigation no information should be released till it is all over UNLESS the judge specifically releases it either thought there own judgement or from a request from a party related to the case and only if the information is in the public interests(this does not mean what the public is interested in).

    Not like now where a judge has to forbid reporting on the case.

    A good example of why this should be is simply that if you where accused of a crime and it made the front pages for a week in the newspapers BUT where found innocent you would not get a full week of front page news that you where found innocent.

    This means that there would still be people out there that missed the small article that you where found innocent and would still belive you committed the crime.

    This is why no reporting should be done till a case is over.

  8. The problem is when it comes to voting and the guy that directly controls 3 of the 6 major TV channels and indirectly the other 3 country TV channels start talking about how he likes the family, how he is such a good man while instead he has hookers parties and favor never-heard-of girls to enter parliament and government and by creating some Catholic-Church-preferred laws ha gains votes.
    Public opinion has the right to know and understand that somebody that lies on his private life will likely lie also while working as head of the government.
    The italian people has the problem of being lazy and thus they just watch TV to be informed but with TV channels controlled by mr B. how would it be possible to create a public opinion that is not biased? (remember the Mills trial, where berlusconi was involved, the 1th Italian TV said
    Mills was acquitted instead of saying that they reached trial years limit, that is a big difference for the public opinion because this was coming from the first government held TV)

  9. I’m fron Italy and I fell like we’re falling into fascism again (or maybe we’re already in it and still think we’re not). Half of the Italian population support Berlusconi and strongly support their point of view. The other half (to wich I belong) feel unable to do nothing as there’s no political representation strong enough to represente these voices and add as a magnet to the dubious but silent. We’re getting used to the worst and are slowling to the already weak culture of merit into a culture of mafian entitlement. The more you’re loyal to the power (no matter how good you are), the more chances you have to find a job, or to reach your goal (wether it’s legal or not) When I’m abroad I’m so embarrassed about my country nowadays. And worst of all we have a political system whic doesn’t support change. To give you an idea: while in the U.S. you had Clinton, Bush and Obama, we’re still dealing with the same Berlusconi. And then there’s the catholic church. OMG I’m feeling nausea again…

  10. Yep, at least we switch up our dodgy politicians every 4-8 years. Keeps things interesting.

  11. For what we know, Berlusconi paid his villa, his drinks and his friends’ with his money.

    about JFK: I was just saying he liked nice-looking women too -as we are told-, and was above any suspect.

    then, when I am in MY house with MY friends and, maybe, hookers paid by ME (in Italy, law allows that, actually, but morale does not), and a paparazzi shoots pics from the not-so-near hill, I am kind of pissed if someone puts those photos on a paper just to point a finger full of, let’s say that, envy, on how much fun I am having.

    all this to answer to the moderator’s point, sorry.

    1. It matters when you talk about how family matters and protect the Catholic Church or make laws that favour them just to gather catholic votes and then you pay whores to come to your house and held orgy.

      Should i know if somebody in front of me talks about being honest and then paparazzi shoot pics of him smuggling in his house? Yes!

      Should i know if somebody in front of me defends family and morality and then he has party with whores in his house? Yes!

      Do you want to know if the head of the government had a mafia man hidden in his house? Yes!

      When somebody new run for elections what is the criteria that a citizen should use to judge if he will be a good leader if not what he did during his life, even at home? Do you like to have a leader that beat his wife at home? Shouldnt we know about it just because that is a private matter? Do you like a leader that talks about my morality, about the italian morality and then he has whores at home?
      Sorry but no! I want to know right ahead if he is an hypocrite.

    2. For what we know, Berlusconi paid his villa, his drinks and his friends’ with his money

      WRONG :)

      His villa in Sardinia was heavily modified and rebuilt with taxpayer money for “security reasons”. He uses it to entertain other heads of state on official visits paid, again, by taxpayer money. Oh, and he flies back and forth from it on military aircrafts (usually accompanied by female escorts) paid, yet again, with taxpayer money.

      The guy is just a XXI-century Peron who financed his early business success with money from the Mafia, as it was conclusively determined by the judiciary just a few weeks ago. He controls 6 of 7 free tv channels, owns the overwhelming majority of ANY media in the country (press, movie theatres, publishing…), has so many conflicts of interest that it would take several books to explore them all, but is constantly passing laws to make himself even more untouchable. He’s responsible, among other things, for the appalling police behaviour during the G8 meeting in Genoa. He was close friend of a previous “uber-corrupted” prime minister, Bettino Craxi. During a court battle to get ownership of the largest publisher in the country, he successfully corrupted the judges, then corrupted his lawyer to lie during the resulting investigation. He was eventually saved by the use of the Italian equivalent of the statute of limitations — after he had managed to stop the trial umpteen times with new laws.

      I wonder: would you fight for the privacy of this man to steal your money and your freedom?

      This is all very well documented across the web (I Note: guess mostly in Italian, but hey). “For what we know” is not something you should really say.

  12. Thanks Cory for noticing.
    The situation here is not so good, and it looks like is getting worse.
    (this other act risk to shut down a lot of blogs and forums and public display of opinions on our net: )

    I just hope that human rights will be strongly imposed from the outside, and a bit of culture will rise again from the inside of the country, so that those people that still praise Berlusconi will start to call his game and move away from him.
    Sadly, I don’t know if there’s any trustable member of the italian political panorama at the moment, and they’re all far too good in ensuring no one new shows up.

    Hoping it’s not too late.

    Anyway, the law does not prosecutes tapping, obviously: it imposes such strong limitations on it as to render it practically unusable in many situations where it could’ve been of serious help.

    As of leakings this law will grant that no one will know nothing about something going on unless the trial has been completely concluded, which could be a nice way to say “never” due to the way justice works here (if you have the money/power you can keep pushing on a trial for nerly endless amounts of time).

    Not only the press is against this law: even the magistracy and the police has expressed strong opposition.

  13. Regarding the freedom to hire hookers, Berlusconi is a public figure who depicts himself as a strong catholic values and kind-of-family supporter. I would like to know if he’s consistent or not. That’s the price of being a public figure.
    As long as someone is representing me or some specific set of values I want to know if he/she really sticks to it.

  14. Pfft. That’s nothing. Here in America, FOX hasn’t reported news for over a decade.


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