Saturday, 2 June 2007

The Liberty of the Press

(Photo: Saint Peters Dome, Rome by Lost Bob). Thursday night, May 31st, the italian public television network Rai2 broadcasted “Sex Crimes and the Vatican”, a documentary made by Mr Colm O'Gorman in October 2005. Many Italian politicians and Rai managers had previously and tried to prevent the journalist Michele Santoro to show the movie in his programme “Anno Zero” (repubblica.it).
The movie deals with several cases of children abuses made by catholic priests in Ireland, the U.S. and Brasil. According to the film, a Church secret document of 1962, “Crimen sollicitationis”, compels victims, torturers and witnesses to keep silence forever; who breaks the silence can be punished with excommunication.
After the programme, some Center-Right politicians protested again (repubblica.it). But why shouldn’t we be able to see this movie? The liberty of the press, established in Italy by the article 21st of the Constitution, is clearly under attack.

"The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of the truth, produced by its collision with error." (John Stuart Mill,
On Liberty, 1859, ch. II).

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