Activism in Italy

V2 Day was Friday, April 25, 2008. V stands for “Vaffanculo” (“F… off”). It’s an Italian grass roots movement aiming to reform the Italian state. Needless to say it is not popular with the political class, and it’s been mostly ignored in the Italian media, even though there was a huge turn out on Friday, possibly as many as 1.5 Million people.

Of course Italy is different. The current Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, elected earlier this month, owns most of the television stations, and a lot of the newspapers in Italy. As one columnist said, imagine Barrack Obama owning Fox, ABC, and CBS, controlling 90% of the TV Americans get to watch. As a result it’s not possible to get the sort of media coverage that would be possible with an independent press, so Italians have been organizing on the internet, where as comedian Beppe Grillo says, “We are all journalists.”

This is something that the politicians don’t like at all. Italy’s press is licensed, a hold over from the Mussolini regime, that was placed into law before World War II, and never withdrawn after Italy surrendered in 1943. An attempt was made to require all bloggers to be licensed, which thankfully died a quick death.

There’s an excellent article on the BBC which everyone should read, and those of us who don’t live in Italy should watch to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to us:


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