In this morning’s Times, Gomorrah author Roberto Saviano, who has been in hiding since writing his best-selling expose of Neopolitan organised crime, decries the increasingly gangsterish tactics of the Italian government in dealing with its critics:
Anyone in Italy today who criticises the Government or the Prime Minister knows what to expect in return — not a contrary opinion, but a campaign aimed at discrediting him.
Tomorrow a large demonstration promoted by the Italian National Press Federation is being held in Rome — a strange protest for a democratic state. Never before has the press had to demonstrate to safeguard its own freedom in Europe. Italy looks more and more like an anomaly in the heart of Western Europe.
Obviously, Italy cannot be compared with China, Cuba, Burma or Iran. For us to demonstrate in defence of freedom of expression means to demand to be allowed to carry out one’s work without being personally attacked. It means denouncing an all-encompassing climate of menace.
As Saviano says, it’s astounding that this happens in the European Union in 2009. You can read more about the situation in Index on Censorship’s report here.
Hat tip: Nick Cohen