Campaigners are attempting to take down an Italian newspaper after it published a front page reacting to the Paris attacks of Friday night, calling out “Islamic Bastards” for the killing.
Right-wing national daily Libero led on Saturday morning with the headline ‘Bastardi Islamici’ above a story about the Paris terror attacks. Anger about the headline quickly spread on social media, the editor of the paper is being sued, and is the subject of a petition to have him stripped of the ability to work as a journalist in Italy.
Hard-left agitator, sometimes United Nations-backed aid worker and former editor of the now defunct PeaceReporter ‘news’ website Maso Notarianni announced his legal challenge against Libero on Saturday, reports Il Fatto Quotidiano. Posting his legal documents to Twitter, Mr. Notarianni articulated his view that the front page reporting the murder of over 120 civilians by Islamic terrorists had been “criminal and dangerous”.
— Maso Notarianni (@masonotarianni) November 14, 2015
Libero editor Maurizio Belpietro hit back at the accusation, calling Mr. Notarianni and his fellow complainants “ignoranti” for not knowing that “bastard means illegitimate child”. Yet Mr. Notarianni has insisted he believes the paper broke freedom of speech and journalistic laws in Italy and looks forward to a judge deciding on the matter.
Others are also taking action to shut down the paper after it hurt their feelings. A Change.org petition with over 80,000 signatures is rapidly gaining support, and is calling for editor Maurizio Belpietro to be kicked out of the Order of Journalists, calling him “unworthy”. In Italy, membership of the order is mandatory for legally working journalists.
Others are taking more direct action. Instruction to slow down the operations of the paper by bombarding them with police complaints are spreading on social media. On one widely shared Facebook status, one Italian writes “I filed a complaint at the police station on these grounds.
“I bought a copy of the newspaper Libero and am deeply offended by the headline with contains the words ‘Islamic Bastards’. I have many faithful friends of that respectable religion and beleive in historical context this language could prove to be incitement to racial and religious hatred”.
“[this will] bury them in thousands of judicial notifications, maybe causing their paper to jam for a while”.
The editor and staff of Libero can take some reassurance however that not everyone in Italy that associating Islamic terrorism with Islam is a criminal offence. The front page has been shared by numerous UKIP-like Italian Eurosceptic political party Lega Nord chapters on social media with approving messages. Posting an image of the paper, the official Lega Nord central Facebook group even added the comment “Islam wants to conquer us”.
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