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Posted by on Nov 3, 2012 in Freedom of expression, Internet |

Law against libel threat to Wikipedia in Italy

Law against libel threat to Wikipedia in Italy

The reputation and public image are issues that are careful on the web, especially within the entries related to public figures. Even some marketing services offer customers the “clean” their biography in Wikipedia , ensuring that critical events or embarrassing entries do not appear. After all, nobody wants to leave spotted within the world’s most popular encyclopedia.

A purpose of this care reputation comes a controversial law reform in Italy. The Senate of the country is discussing an amendment that would allow any person who believes that a entry is offensive in his image, the ability to order the correction or removal of such content. In addition, offenders in this case, Wikipedia would-be creditors to a fine amounting to 100 thousand euros.

Phrasing it another way, if a public official has been involved in a scandal and feels that the public be his biography makes it a moral damage, can make that paragraph is deleted even though the charges against him may be certain. This measure, in a country led by a man as controversial as Silvio Berlusconi, is nothing more than a weapon to promote censorship, either actively (through a court case) or passive (a publisher who thinks twice include an uncomfortable topic to avoid legal trouble).

Wikipedia has already asked for reconsideration of the approval of this reform, seeing it as an act of intimidation:

This measure would undermine the fundamental principles of Wikipedia, would be an unacceptable limitation of their independence, intimidating and a threat to the work of its 15 million volunteers worldwide, which would avoid the need for the articles on certain topics or people, “just to stay out of trouble.”

Caring for the reputation causes friction among many public figures, especially politicians, and sources of information. For example in Mexico, the governor of Puebla, Rafael Moreno Valle, filed suit two journalists for moral damages. The case became relevant because, with this litigation, revealed a list of 17 other names that were targeted by the state governor, what has been considered an act of veiled threat.

In the case of the Italian law, it is undeniable that may lead to an incorrect interpretation that violates freedom of expression in Wikipedia. A public figures who want to protect both his biography of scandals, fights and embarrassing moments, I have them a tip: if you want to keep your record clean, just say no such acts. It’s that easy.

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