snafu on Mon, 25 Feb 2002 19:47:37 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Indymedia Italy under attack

Hi Heiko,

The law you are referring to was definitively approved in April 2001. It
was extending the national law on the press (approved in 1948) to the
Internet. On the basis of that law, all the periodical publications have
to be registered at the Tribunal of Rome. In order to register, you have
to give to the Tribunal the name of an "Accountable Director", who in turn
has to be member of the National Order of the Journalists, at least as a
publicist. The power of the National Order of the Journalists in Italy is
immense and it is functional to draw a big line between so called
"professional journalists" and all the others (publicists or pure
collaborators). This division is expressed not only in terms of guarantees
-- the professional journalist is usually employed, the collaborator is a
free lance -- but also in terms of real money (free lances are paid
nothing and usually with a delay of months).

The extension of the law to the web was an attempt to force big portals
(such as Kataweb-Repubblica,, Supereva, etc) to recognize the
"journalist profession" and to compensate subsequently hundreds of people
who work as their colleagues of the press, but with much less guarantees.  
The law of course was not written properly and there are some ambiguities
that will be sorted out only with the first definitive sentences of the
Italian Magistrature (Corte di Cassazione).

In any case, if it is pretty unluckily that web sites that are not
producing regular news and information will have to register, it is quite
possible that web sites like Indymedia will be asked to register and to
give the name of an "accountable director". Needless to say how ridiculous
this measure is for an open-publishing web site where 90% of the
informations are unfiltered.

In any case, since last April i haven't heard of any case of
web-incrimination on the basis of that law.



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