21-year-old blogger convicted because of insults in the comments section

It was not the blogger who wrote them, but others using nicknames. However, the judge decided that the contents were libellous.

Democracy on the Web has limits, and the Court of Varese has confirmed this principle with a sentence issued by the magistrate, Giuseppe Battarino, who convicted a 21-year-old woman, who administered a blog that discussed literary matters. A number of comments and insults against a woman from Cocquio Trevisago, near Varese, appeared on the website. The woman runs a small publishing company, which was reviewed by visitors to the blog, and against which a number of objections were made.

The precedent: Renzo Bossi and the blog

This story is a typical demonstration of the problems of the new technologies, as the convicted woman, who was defended by lawyer Jenny Cantù (who is going to appeal), did not write any of the comments, but simply ran the blog. However, the website was considered a place on which insults could be published (and read by anyone), and the administrator, as a sort of editor.

The story began in 2008, when a group of 18-year-old Venetians decided to set up a literature discussion forum on the Internet, and they also began to review publishers and how they behaved towards aspiring writers. The website was called “Writer’s Dream", and was dedicated to emerging writers and to publishing.

At a certain point, the website reviewed the publishing house in question, which is run by the plaintiff, a woman who lives in Varese Province, who, as a result, appealed to the public prosecutor’s office in Varese. The negative comments were written in 2010, under nicknames, which apparently make it impossible to discover the true identities of the authors. The plaintiff gathered everything on a CD, and the case began. The contested sentences were not in verse, but prose; they talked about "editorial sewers" and "fraudsters”, and even “Mafia gangs, and bloodsuckers”. Among the arguments mentioned by the defence, there was also the fact that, on the website, the woman had written that she would not be responsible for the comments. However, the court held that this was no defence, and that even a blog must accept its responsibilities.

See also:

the convicted blogger; he satirised Renzo Bossi

di redazione@varesenews.it
Pubblicato il 09 maggio 2013
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