Wikipedia Protests Proposed Italian Law for Corrections, Libel

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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.”

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.

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Wikipedia Protests Proposed Italian Law for Corrections, Libel

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