Italian president and media baron Silvio Berlusconi said today that he would use his country's imminent presidency of the G8 group to push for an international agreement to "regulate the internet".
Berlusconi didn't explain what he meant by "regulate the internet", but the mere mention of it has prompted dismay among Italian commentators. Berlusconi owns swathes of the Italian mass media.
The left-wing newspaper L'Unita wrote: "You can not say that it is not a disturbing proclamation, given that the only countries in the world where there are filters or restrictions against internet are countries ruled by dictatorial regimes: those between China, Iran, Cuba, Saudi Arabia."
La Stampa reports Italian bloggers are planning to protest against any move by the president to tighten government control over the web tomorrow. They plan to display anti-Berlusconi banners on their websites.
Not found any banners yet. But with Mr B's power over his home media, one fears for any influence that any rules he had a hand in framing, whatever the ostensible trigger. I hope the rest of the G8 aren't his useful idiots.