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Berlusconi forces Italian Wikipedia to close

by on05 October 2011

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Wikipedia has been forced to shut down the Italian version of its website because the Italian Government requires posts to be “corrected” if the poster finds them offensive within 48 hours. So if you run a post which says Berlusconi can't walk on water, he can order you to change it and if you don't within 48 hours you are in trouble.

The law does not require a judge to decide if the content is inaccurate only if a politician or B list celebrity finds themselves insulted. If Berlusconi is found guilty of shagging under-age prostitutes and Wikipedia included it in his biography he could order it taken down, even if it was true.

By pulling out of Italy, Wikipedia is warning its 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 hate to say it, because Berlusconi is wrong here, but it is hypocrisy for Wikipedia to bleat about this law when it censor's entries on the basis of its ill-informed cabal of editors who think they have power to decide who is interesting or not.

Last modified on 05 October 2011
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