Is blogging illegal in Italy?

If you are travelling with your notebook and you are planning to blog during your time in Italy, keep an eye on the local law.

If you are traveling with your laptop and plan to blog during your trip to Italy, be aware of the local laws. Simply put, Italy's democracy is highly bureaucratic, and recent examples of this are its views on freedom of the press. Decades-old laws are now bearing negative consequences due to a surprising judicial ruling that the internet can be illegal in Italy. Years ago, no one would have thought that technology would allow individuals to become publishers or authors through blogging. Recent court actions in Sicily, including the ban on a popular blogger, along with the complicated Italian judicial system, have escalated the issue to an unforeseen level.

Blogs in Italy may be considered stampa clandestina, which is equivalent to illegal secret newspapers. The origin of this stems from a post-war constitution that reflected the anti-fascist climate of the time. The Italian Constitution includes a guarantee of the right to free expression, and a 1948 law requires publishers to register officially before starting a new publication. The purpose of this law was to regulate partisan and extremist publications, but it resulted in a highly centralized and bureaucratic approach to freedom of the press. In 2001, the Italian government recognized that existing laws were insufficient for dealing with the internet and instead of liberalizing, it sought to bring the internet under the same framework as traditional print media, thus introducing the concept of stampa clandestina to the internet. Some commentators suspect that this law served both the government and publishers, allowing the state to maintain control over the media while allowing publishers to receive state subsidies for their internet ventures through the authorization and regulation system.

However, what went unnoticed at the time was that this law had the potential to equate simple blogging with full-blown journalism. All it would take is for a judge to decide that a headline defines a "newspaper." Now, a journalist and blogger in Calabria (southern Italy) has become a victim of the local magistrate, signaling that the genie is now out of the bottle. The journalist is taking the matter to the parliamentary level to guarantee Italian freedom to blog and to restore the law to what most Italians believe it to be.

person using MacBook Pro and holding cappuccino
person using MacBook Pro and holding cappuccino