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Italy: Online Censorship through Red Tape

A concerning development in Italy:

The decree mandates vetting of [online] video content to ensure it isn’t considered pornographic or harmful to national security. Violators face fines of up to more than $200,000. It would create an administrative authority that will decide what can go online and what can’t.

Media freedom advocates call it the “sheriff” of the Internet.

Alessandro Gilioli, a journalist and blogger for the magazine L’Espresso, says the decree will lead to censorship by means of red tape. “The way Italian government strangles the Web is through bureaucracy, not like in China — through bureaucracy, permissions, bureaucratic obstructions.”

Does Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi really care about protecting Italians against pornographic material?  Mr. Berlusconi’s sex scandal last summer shows that the man is no puritan.  More likely, the Prime Minister is using the new regulations as anti-competitive measures to protect his television interests against the growing market for online entertainment.  Shame on you Mr. Berlusconi.

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