Thursday, November 25, 2004


Censorship Chip on their shoulders

One of my readers sent me the following email with the accompanying image (text unedited except for correcting typos. Boldface my own):

Indy Media promotional vandalism

Hi, I was travelling through Florence, Italy and saw an Italian Indy Media sticker on the wall of one of the major churches there. Besides the fact the sticker's placement had vandalized a sacred site, it was also interesting to see the slogan at the bottom - "No Alla Censura". This means 'no to censorship' in English and suggests this is such a problem in the first place. Italy, like America has a free-press and one can read virtually any political opinion in mainstream media from locally and abroad. This is before you factor in the Internet, which is not censored in any way in this country.

Indy Media seem to have a huge chip on their shoulder and feel that their views and opinions are being 'suppressed' or 'censored' by the mainstream media. Looking at your blog and the content of their sites, I can see all sorts of garbage which would never be published in any self-respecting publication. But this isn't because of censorship or suppression as they might suspect, it's simply because it's either not true, racist or downright offensive.

There is a clear difference between free-speech, which Indy Media apparently feels is denied them and hate-speech or stupidity, which Indy Media has constantly facilitated the distribution of. There are laws in some countries against yelling FIRE in a crowded theatre. They don't mean free-speech is hindered, merely that sometimes reponsibility has to take precedence. This is what Indy Media lacks, not freedom. Ciao!

I couldn't agree more.

How dare they complain! Just because they have been beaten and injured and shot at by italian police, just because they are the target of a harassment campaign on independant media ordered by the prime minister (Owner of the largest media chain in Italy)... hey, freedom right.

I mean, when Reporters San Frontiers (The main international press freedom lobby group) puts them below benin at 40th in terms of press freedom. What would they know.......

Heres what they say...

Italy gets bad marks in Europe

The 15 member-countries of the European Union (EU) all score well except for Italy (40th), where news diversity is under serious threat. Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is turning up the pressure on the state-owned television stations, has named his henchmen to help run them and continues to combine his job as head of government with being boss of a privately-owned media group. The imprisonment of journalist Stefano Surace, convicted of press offences from 30 years ago, as well as the monitoring of journalists, searches, unjustified legal summonses and confiscation of equipment, are all responsible for the country's low ranking.


Yes I'm being a little anoyed here. I really dont think you researched that log entry well at all.
Beaten, injured and shot? For what?
I think you are getting protest activities confused with censorship of the media, something the sticker was alluding to. As I said in my original piece, I still believe they have a huge chip on their shoulder if they believe their views are being stifled by the press UNLESS those views happen to be the very ones on Indy Media about which I have such a big problem. That is, mainstream media refusing to print racist, sexist, fraudulent or anti-Semitic crap does NOT equal "censorship" - merely commonsense, something IMC is missing. If the authorities are trying to prevent such articles appearing on websites, more power to them.

As for Reporters Sans Frontieres, I have previously commented on them here and questioned their methodology. I can't comment on Italian freedom of the press but think you have missed the point I WAS trying to make altogether. Thanks for visiting.
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