Show Hide image

Italian media protests government's wiretrap bill

The draft law would prevent journalists from publishing recorded transcripts and sets out prison ter

Italy's major newspapers, news agencies and the state broadcaster, RAI, are protesting against a controversial government bill to limit the use of investigative wiretraps, by going on a 24-hour strike on Saturday.

The draft law, tabled by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, will stop police and prosecutors from recording phone conversations and planting listening devices. It would also stop journalists publishing recorded transcripts and specifies prison terms and fines for editors and journalists who contravene the proposed law.

The government claims that the so-called privacy bill is to protect the privacy of people involved. This has been rubbished by most of the country's editors, judges and prosecutors who said it is intended to shield politicians.

The bill, which follows the publication of the prime minister's alleged relations with prostitutes and showgirls last year, will now prohibit the country's media from covering major scandals, according to the National Federation of Italian Press.

Magistrates also warned that the bill - which is set to be passed in the Lower House of Parliament on 29 July - will damage their fight against the Mafia, terrorism and paedophilia.