Italy gags 'porno' Virgin Mary sites

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Date: 2002

Region: Europe

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Electronic Media


Artist: Anonymous

Confronting Bodies: Italian Police

Date of Action: June 2002

Location: Internet

Description of Artwork: The sites, created in Rome and hosted by internet service providers in the United States, according to the police, contained both God and Mary described in unholy terms, and images of sex scenes appeared next to their names.

The Incident: Blasphemy is illegal in Catholic Italy. While bad language has been decriminalised, it still remains an offence to broadcast sacrilegious content. In an operation, police removed the content from the site and replaced it with the symbol of the special unit involved. Police said their censoring of the sites was done so that the "precious freedom of expression" was not used to offend "the dignity of people".

Results of Incident: A man from Rome may be charged, although it remains unclear what the charges would be.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk, NCAC