Domenica, 23 Settembre 2018
ROME

Senate complains of online threats on employees

English
© ANSA

Rome, July 25 - The Italian Senate has requested
police intervention over a threatening Internet smear campaign
against parliament employees.
"The Senate of the republic has reported to the competent
authorities to verify who are responsible for intimidating and
threatening statements that break the limits of freedom of
opinion," a statement from the Senate said Thursday.
"The ongoing online defamatory campaign against parliament
employees has assumed an unacceptable tone. Expressions like,
'If you kill a House or Senate employee, you contribute to
savings and the budget. They are all relatives and
blood-relatives, worse than the Egyptians,' have appeared on a
number of social network pages, and help foster a climate of
hatred based on false information, by the way, and that has
nothing to do with the reality of those who work everyday in
government offices," the statement.
"The Senate of the republic will pursue every action to
protect the dignity of its own employees, against whom there has
been an ongoing campaign, for some time, at levels unacceptable
in a civil context".
The announcement marks the latest in a series of hate
attacks, online and off, targeting public employees, parliament
members or current ministers.
The Rome prosecutor's office opened a probe in early May
into the mountain of Internet-based threats directed at Italian
House Speaker Laura Boldrini as well as grotesque, graphic
photomontages that have accompanied some of the threats.
Congolese-born Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge - Italy's
first black minister - has suffered numerous racist attacks by
members of the anti-immigrant party the Northern League, at
least two of which have resulted in legal proceedings.
This month a Northern League local councillor was expelled
from her party, received a 13-month suspended sentence and was
barred from public office for three years after an online post
suggesting Kyenge should be raped.
A Padua court convicted Dolores Valandro of inciting sexual
violence for racial reasons after posting a comment on Facebook
under a photo of Kyenge saying, "(Why) doesn't anyone ever rape
her in order (for her) to understand what the victim of this
heinous crime feels like?"
Deputy Senate Speaker Roberto Calderoli is being probed for
defamation by the court of Bergamo for saying Kyenge reminded
him of an orangutan at a Northern League rally in the northern
Italian town.
The Senator has so far ignored pressure for him to step
down.
In addition, disaffection with public employees at the
Senate and House is particularly high following a recent
broadcast of Italian television show Le Iene showing workers
taking extended breaks while collecting generous paychecks.

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