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October 05, 2011

Italian Wikipedia Is Hidden, Could Be Deleted as Controversial Bill is Debated

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor


The Italian version of Wikipedia is hidden and may be deleted as a controversial media bill is being debated in the Parliament of Italy.

“The page you want still exists and is only hidden, but the risk is that soon we will be forced to actually delete it,” says a letter addressed to the reader of the site signed by “The users of Wikipedia.”


But the “neutrality, freedom, and verifiability of its contents” found with Wikipedia will be “compromised” by paragraph 29 of proposed law, known as "DDL intercettazioni" or the Wiretapping Act.

The proposal requires “websites to publish, within 48 hours of the request and without any comment, a correction of any content that the applicant deems detrimental to his/her image,” according to Wikipedia.

The proposal, now before the Parlamento Italiano, does not require a ruling from an impartial judge to require the correction.

“Anyone who feels offended by any content published on a blog, an online newspaper and, most likely, even on Wikipedia would have the right for a statement ("correction") to be shown, unaltered, on the page, aimed to contradict and disprove the allegedly harmful contents, regardless of the truthfulness of the information deemed as offensive, and its sources,” the letter from Wikipedia said.

Users of Wikipedia can already review and edit “detrimental” content.

In addition, Wikipedia notes that very Italian citizen is protected against defamation by Article 595 of the Criminal Code.

The AFP News Service reports that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government approved the new law. The law was supposed to keep details of legal phone taps from appearing in the media, with journalists getting fined, according to the AFP. People who give court secrets to journalists would spend as many as six years in prison under the proposal, AFP adds. Berlusconi himself is involved in court actions, with allegations he paid for sex from Moroccan nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug, known as "Ruby the Heart Stealer,” when she was 17, AFP said.

The Wikipedia online encyclopedia site has over 3 million entries, according to PC Magazine.

Last year, a Cuban copycat version of Wikipedia was introduced but kept on crashing on its launch, according to a report from TMCnet.


Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves


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