Italian free papers join strike

cityprotest2010Italian free newspapers Metro, Leggo, City (picture left from City website), E Polis and DNews all joined the strike against the plans of Berlusconi’s¬†government to restrict reporting based on material gained from police wiretaps.

The government says the wiretap law is needed to protect the privacy of individuals from arbitrary investigation but critics say it will hamper both the fight against organised crime and press reporting on corruption.

The bill can ban newspapers from using transcripts until preliminary investigations are complete, something which can take years.¬†FNSI, the main Italian journalists’ union, said the legislation would “severely limit the right of citizens to know how judicial investigations are proceeding, imposing serious limitations on the free circulation of information.”

Among the few papers on newsstands were “Il Giornale”, owned by the prime minister’s brother, and “Libero”, a pro-Berlusconi daily which said that “the true obstacles to justice are uncontrolled wiretaps.” (RNW)

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