In what can only be described as a futuristic show of internet-based dissent, Wikipedia has taken down the entirety of its Italy-based site in protest of a gag-law currently awaiting full passage. This law would, if passed, allow ease in censorship of any webpage showing up inside the country via a requirement for any and all websites to publish “corrections” at the request of ANY PERSON inside 48 hours, this without any sort of impartial 3rd party judge. I think you can see the problems this might incur right away, right?
Wikipedia being a site that is without an editorial staff and has its entire contents made and edited by 3rd party contributors. In the case that there is a dispute about contents on any page, either an agreement must be met by the creator of the content and the person disputing it, or the content will be pulled entirely. What Italy’s new law would have done is to use government-inflicted requirements to have changes made without a judge – this is essentially what Wikipedia would be if, first of all, there were no mediators, and second, if there were no way to delete anything written on any page. Mass madness, basically.
Wikipedia Italy writes:
It should be made more than clear that none of us wants to question safeguarding and protection of the reputation, honor and image of any party – but we also note that every Italian citizen is already protected in this respect by Article 595 of the Criminal Code, which punishes the crime of defamation.
With this announcement, we want to warn our readers against the risks arising from leaving to the arbitrary will of any party to enforce the alleged protection of its image and its reputation. Under such provisions, web users would be most probably led to cease dealing with certain topics or people, just to “avoid troubles”.
We want to be able to keep a free and open-to-all encyclopaedia, because our articles are also your articles – Wikipedia is already neutral, why neutralize it?
The users of Wikipedia
The proposed last is known as “DDL intercettazioni” (Wiretapping Act) and the piece of the law that’s not quite the most agreeable is inside paragraph 29, as shown below. Seem like Wikipedia is doing the right thing? Protest!
The Bill – Rules on Wiretapping etc., p. 24, paragraph 29, letter a) states that:
«For the Internet sites, including newspapers and periodicals delivered by telematic way, the statements or corrections are published, with the same graphic characteristics, the same access methodology to the site and the same visibility of the news which they refer.