Part of an intended Italian wiretapping bill would have called for a mandatory time limit for bloggers to publish corrections on “information deemed to be defamatory,” EditorsWeblog reported.
The bill would require bloggers “to print a correction within 48 hours of publishing the offending entry else pay a fine of €12,000,” according to EditorsWeblog.
Ars Technica added that the “applicant” for the correction would be the person to determine if it’s defamatory — and not a court of law. “There’s no provision for verifying the accuracy of the corrections, nor is there a process of judicial review,” Ars Technica explained.
According to EditorsWebLog, Wikipedia ‘removed its Italian language service” because of the proposal “as it fears that such a law would effectively stop it from operating.” As such, Wikipedia took down almost all of its pages, the BBC explained. Further, Italian Wikipedia posted a “a rebuke against the bill” published here. Nieman Lab published a translated version of the message here. In part, it reads:
“As things stand, the page you want still exists and is only hidden, but the risk is that soon we will be forced by Law to actually delete it.”
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Further, the protest letter called the proposed bill “an unacceptable restriction of the free independence of Wikipedia,” and claimed that the bill contradicts Wikipedia’s purpose. The letter reads:
“The very pillars on which Wikipedia has been built – -neutrality, freedom, and verifiability of its contents — are likely to be heavily compromised.”
According to Nieman Lab, following the protests, the act was changed “to include only large online news sites — meaning that any information outlets that don’t fall into that category, Wikipedia among them, will be excluded from the law’s reach.” Agence France-Presse reported that Wikipedia “restored access to its pages in Italian” Oct. 6
UPDATE: 10/12/2011 9:15 AM EST: Added information from the BBC and more information about the protest letter.