Italian journalist praises registration, taxes for web sites

Declan McCullagh declan a WELL.COM
Sab 14 Apr 2001 02:27:41 CEST


Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 16:04:10 +0200
From: "sergio dallomo" <dallomo a>
To: online-news a, ralph.hoefelmeyer a, declan a
Subject: Re: Politech- Italy reportedly requires news sites to
   register, pay fees

Hi all,
Well, as a professional italian journalist (32 years in this job, so far),
I dare to define this message (and possible thread) pure information
terrorism and nasty disinformation.
Everybody in Italy will be able -now and in the future- to use the Internet
as ever. My friend Manlio Cammarata of "" is a sharp guy and
must be read with the necessary precision, even if he is often
bitter-speaking and pessimistic (many italian intellectuals are when they
speak of their country).
BUT, as ever in Italy, nobody can be a professional journalist unless he
got a public title for. In "this" country -please or not- there are some
very specific laws on public press. A professional journalist must pass an
official and formal examination led by a national authority.
Besides this, everybody can publish whatsoever on papers.
About the medium, any regular publication (journalistic or not) in Italy
must be registered at a Public Court Registry, have an official director
(not necessarily a professional), a professional staff only in the case of
a true news paper, and so.
In any way, an online news spread (of a journalistic kind) is journalism. A
web site that tries to cheat a shortcut to publish an online newspaper (or
news serials) must be registered as well as an analog edition.
Rules must be equal for everyone.
This was in the interest of the right of the citizens, the correct
competition, the quality of the news, the credibility of the informations,
the reliability of sources, etc. In Italy all journalists that bypass the
VERY strict rules of the profession are commonly lead to a trial and
punished. Very often banned from the profession. As wherever else, we are
not saints, got no intrinsic truth, are very corporative, got many
privileges. And are not loved, often hated. But here, many of us got a good
deal of public respect.
Non journalist, for sure, can be upset. In Italy it works that way, and
most important, it works.

dott. Sergio M. Dall'Omo
Professional Journalist - New Media & New Techs senior editor
Professor of Digital Communication - DSIT - Architecture University - Venice
Digital Communication & New Media Strategy Consultant
Founder and Owner of the web show portal project ""
dallomo a
dallomo a
dallomo a
sergio.dallomo a
dallomo a


See also a Lizardrant at:


From: "Thomas Leavitt" <thomasleavitt a>
To: declan a
Subject: Re: FC: More on Italy requiring news sites to register, pay fees
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 15:51:34 -0700
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed
Message-ID: <F75FprhMOgRGkQ6mByS0000498c a>

Certainly one of the major results is to subject online publishing
to the national journalists' union.  Translating a quote by Paulo
Serventi Longhi, the head of the union, as reported by PI:

>"Thus ends, at least in Italy, the absurd anarchy that permits
>anyone to publish online without standards and without restrictions,
>and guarantees to the consumer minimum standards of quality in all
>information content, for the first time including electronic media."

This is about the nuttiest thing I've ever heard of a government doing...
it makes the censorhappy Australian government look like schleps in comparison.

Words fail me...

Thomas Leavitt


From: "Bill Fason" <wfason a>
To: <declan a>
Subject: Re: More on Italy requiring news sites to register, pay fees
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 12:00:18 -0500

Hash: SHA1

Serventi Longhi, head of the national journalists' union, as reported
by PI:
 > "Thus ends, at least in Italy, the absurd anarchy that permits
 > anyone to publish online without standards and without
 > restrictions, and guarantees to the consumer minimum standards of
 > quality in all information content, for the first time including
 > electronic media."

The "anarchy" of which Mr. Longhi complains sounds essentially like a
re-statement of our First Amendment.   No wonder our ancestors fled
Europe in cramped leaky boats like huddled rats.

But then one looks around and sees such nefarious anti-free speech
proposals gaining currency here in the States.

In Medina, a suburb of Seattle, the city council passed an ordinance
that required people to apply for a license from town officials and
submit to a police background check in order to distribute printed
information, discuss religious or political beliefs, or seek
charitable contributions.

A person who puts up a website which includes opinions about
political candidates without first registering with the Federal
Elections Commission risks legal action.
FEC opinion at

More recently, the McCain-Feingold bill to "reform" campaign finance
includes uncontitutional provisions, including limits on issue
advocacy by nonpartisan groups.

Can you believe the nerve of some people that they would just put up
a website and start posting their own opinions about God and the
world without any fees, permits, registration, applications in
triplicate, review process, licenses, mandatory union dues, etc.?
Where could it lead?   "Human sacrifice, cats and dogs living
together, mass hysteria" - that's where. <g>

To the tyrant, freedom always looks like anarchy.


Bill Fason

Version: PGPfreeware 6.5.1 for non-commercial use <>



Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 10:26:39 +0200
From: Monique van Dusseldorp <monique a>
Organization: Van Dusseldorp & Partners
To: declan a
Subject: italy - engl lang report
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-UIDL: 2457cd6bddcae85461678ff1557cc8f8

Only professional journalists allowed in Italy
The Italian government has passed a new law stating that ''the
publishers of periodical news on the Web who are not 'professional'
journalists (or write on behalf of them) could be fined up to E282 and
arrested for up to two years, and accused of 'clandestine press' crime."

In Italy a professional journalist is one who has passed the exam of the

National Order of Journalists.

Web journalist Alessandro Ludovico says the ''same old rules'' for the
conventional press are now being applied to the Web under pressure from
big publishers' lobbies.

''Today lots of Italian independent Web-zine publishers, frightened by
the announcement, announced to stop the activity,'' said Ludovico,
adding: ''In the Italian Constitution is clearly written: 'Everyone has
the right to freely express his thoughts with spoken words, press and
any other medium'''.

Source: - Media
Channel / Apoge Online



From: "Theodore Baar" <tedbaar a>
To: <declan a>
Subject: I confess, actively
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 12:49:10 -0400

"It is not sufficient to have a server physically outside of Italy.
The new law applies to information that is sent to the server
originating from Italy or to information that is transmitted into
Italy. "

I think it is a moral obligation for us to carry at least one offensive
Italian story on our sites. Prefeferably, this story should be
unsubstantiated and salacious reporting of the odd sexual practices of the
responsible ministry officials.

These stories can be carried on US servers as satire (protected under US
law). This will make every server involved "clandestine press" and Italian
eurocrats can then sue in a US court to require us to belong to the Italian
Journalist's union and stick tax stamps on our servers.

Of course some groups could get very subtle. A complimentary article, from a
San Francisco server, complimenting the gay government ministers in Rome
would be a big hit. They could sue in San Francisco, said suit beginning
with proving that gay has negative connotations. Good luck.

I think this could probide endless entertainment for everyone involved.

Mit freundlichen Gruessen
Meilleures salutations
Best regards

                Ted Baar
             Theodore Baar
             Omegacom, Inc.
    tedbar a  617-783-5227


Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 18:07:39 +0100
From: Charlie Stross <charlie a>
To: Declan McCullagh <declan a>
Subject: Re: FC: More on Italy requiring news sites to register, pay fees

On Thu, Apr 12, 2001 at 11:31:48AM -0500, you wrote:
 > From: Michael Brennen <mbrennen a>
 > To: Declan McCullagh <declan a>
 > Subject: Re: FC: Italy reportedly requires news sites to register, pay  fees

Before you worry, remember that this is Italy we're talking about. Italy,
the country where tax evasion is a national sport and anarchism used to be
a major political movement. If this was Germany, or the UK, or the USA,
or some other country where people believe in following rules, it might
be worrying. But Italy? I predict the sudden appearance of lots of video
clips of journalists mooning at the camera on news sites, specifically
to obtain the exemption. And lots of sites ignoring the law altogether.

The recent EC directive on copyright, now *that* is serious ...

-- Charlie

[Re: European copyright directive, see: and


Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 19:31:49 -0400
From: WWWhatsup <joly a>
Organization: Pin Pub Proj
To: Declan McCullagh <declan a>
Subject: [Fwd: FC: Italy reportedly requires news sites to register, pay  fees]
Content-Type: multipart/digest;
X-UIDL: 211dcb5b7e692c645393a3b86ea24d5a

I posted your Italy piece to he ISTF list, were
it garnered some responses (attached)

Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 16:42:35 +0200 (MET DST)
From: Carlo Daffara <cdaffara a>
To: "Alfredo E. Cotroneo" <alfredo a>
cc: WWWhatsup <joly a>, isoc_forum a, ita-pe a NIC.IT
Subject: Re: FC: Italy reportedly requires news sites to register, pay  fees
In-Reply-To: < a>

Dear all,
first of all, I am not a lawyer, and it shows :-)
But I have encountered bad laws in Italy for several years, and can say
for sure that there are many, many more bad laws actually "alive" in Italy
that are completely ignored. We have received several visits from the
PTT, made several recourses, and in general I ended up adapting myself
(and my company) in a country that has at least a 10% of laws that are
uncostitutional, wrong, in contradiction with others or with EU laws, or
all those things together.
This is the reason for my relative bland answer; we are still fighting the
SIAE requirements for another law, and waiting for the court in a recourse
against the PTT - so I know what it feels to be harassed by a government.
But: I am giving the (new, or old) government time to publish the
actuation decreet and see if it solves the problem.
                                                 Carlo Daffara

Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 16:04:11 +0200
To: Carlo Daffara <cdaffara a>, WWWhatsup <joly a>
From: "Alfredo E. Cotroneo" <alfredo a>
Subject: Re: FC: Italy reportedly requires news sites to register, pay
Cc: isoc_forum a, ita-pe a NIC.IT

Dear Carlo and all,

Let's state clearly what the law says, i.e. that all sites that carry
regular news on-line (whatever kind of news - whether sport, church or
politics - it does not really matter) now they MUST register with the local
Court, and have a professional journalist endorsed by the State sign in the
site at the Court. The same applies for every electronic form of news
delivery electronically (i.e. weekly newsletters delivered by e-mail). What
a member of the now defunct Italian Parliament (to be re-elected on May 13)
or a representative of a Ministry says to modify the scope of the law, has
*absolutely* no effect, and offers no guarantee when the PTT (Post and
Telecommunication) police takes you to Court.

It is very clear that this law is another serious attack to freedom of
speech in Italy, and several groups have already started to speak out
against it with banners, petitions and articles on the free Internet press
(see i.e and, both sites are in Italian).
Unfortunately, since the new law comes to the rescue of professional
journalisst (Radio, TV and paper media), no big campaign has been seen yet
on the paper media and TV. To the effect of this and any other law, it does
not really matter where the Web site is located, as the law may be enforced
on all Italian citizens and companies and ISPs (ISPs may be held
responsible for "clandestine press distribution" in case their clients do
not register their news Web site with the local Court).

This is clearly a law promoted by the lobby of professional registered
journalists, and chief representatives of the Journalist have recently and
blatantly admitted that in a series of interviews during the last few days.
As journalists in the paper media are being out-placed, several on-line
magazines escaped so far the strict rules of the press in Italy, and are
seriously competing with the paper media. Professional journalists are
experiencing serious difficulties because of the demise of the paper
press/media, and are trying to obtain protection from the State, and put
forcibly their feet in the new Internet media, protected by the State.
After the new law, web portals, and the majority of Web sites in Italy are
expected to hire a "registered" journalist and pay them a fee to sign in
their web site.

Last but not least, due to a law passed in 1948, no newspaper or magazine
(and now no Internet news site) can be printed unless it is registered by a
"professional" and State recognized journalist. The State and lobby of
professional journalists have the last say on whom can be admitted to the
"albo" of "professional" journalists in Italy. As it happens in most
western societies, journalist should be recognized as such by their
professional activity. On the contrary in Italy the profession is clearly
defined by laws, state organized exams and the final word to the admission
to the closed group is by ... the members themselves.

We expect the law to be challenged against the freedom of speech articles
contained in our constitution (art. 21), but as I said, sadly, until then,
all sites that carry news at "regular" times overhere in Italy are subject
to the new law.

Alfredo Cotroneo / NEXUS-IBA, Milan, Italy

At 15:08 12/04/2001 +0200, Carlo Daffara wrote:
>This is not true. The law talks about the extension of the benefits and
>requirements of the press (that is, fiscal and financial benefits and
>responsibility for the published materials). If you don't want the fiscal
>benefits, just don't register as an online journal, and the law doesn't
>apply to you. (directly from the words of the law promoter, at the
>national "radio 24").
>This is not to say that the law in itself is ok, (it is really badly
>written in terms of clarity) but that it is not really against freedom of
>cheers from Italy
>                                                 Carlo Daffara

Alfredo E. Cotroneo, CEO,  NEXUS-Int'l Broadcasting Association
PO Box 11028, 20110, Milano, Italy           email: alfredo a
ph: +39-335-214-614 (try first)/+39-02-266-6971 fax: +39-02-706-38151

Maggiori informazioni sulla lista ita-pe