Italy plans crackdown on internet hate

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If approved the proposals will impact news websites, blogs and social media. Image: Shailendra Singh Bais/Flickr
13:23 CET+01:00
Politicians from the Democratic Party (PD) will this week propose a new law to tackle internet hate speech, following high-profile attacks against leading politician Laura Boldrini.

The new proposal is due to be put forward this week by MPs Alessandra Moretti and Francesco Sanna, with backing from other PD members, La Stampa reported on Monday.

The aim of the bill is to strip the online sphere of content that is “detrimental to our own dignity”, Moretti was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

If successfully passed by Italy’s lower house and Senate, the law would impact newspaper websites, blogs and individuals’ social media accounts.

“It is a necessary intervention. But I would like to specify one thing: it is not a gag for the internet,” Moretti said. “On the contrary, I think that this text can be improved, therefore I would like to open it up to bloggers for their contribution.”

In its current form the proposal would enable authorities to ask for content to be removed if it is inaccurate or damaging, La Stampa said.

It could also affect old posts which are traceable through online search engines; a move which would impact newspaper archives as well as old blogs and posts on social networks.

The proposal comes just days after Boldrini, president of the Chamber of Deputies, was the victim of abusive comments online including some calling for her to be raped.

The offensive posts were responses to Beppe Grillo, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), posing the question "what would you do if you found Boldrini in your car?" online.

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Boldrini responded by saying Grillo’s post was an “instigation of violence” and called those who responded “potential rapists”.

READ MORE: Five Star bloggers 'potential rapists': MP

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