ROME (JTA) – The Italian government plans to introduce new legislation to beef up measures countering anti-Semitism and hate speech in cyberspace.
Integration Minister Andrea Riccardi told Jewish leaders at Rome’s main synagogue during a meeting Monday that he was working with the country’s justice and interior ministers to “give a clear response to those who disseminate hatred via the Internet.”
Riccardi said he planned to introduce measures that could allow the postal police to block racist websites and also target regular visitors “to these shameful web pages.”
The increase in the number of websites with racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic content, he said, “requires the government to update the measures currently in force.”
The government, Riccardi said, wanted to send “a strong message: We want to intervene. We have this responsibility, particularly after the attack in Toulouse.” He was referring to the terror attacks in France in March that killed three students and a teacher at a Jewish school and also two Muslim soldiers.
“You can’t just cry after every massacre and then forget the tears,” he said during the roundtable discussion. “Tears have to become concrete commitments to fight against the sowers of hatred.”
At the same meeting, Rome Jewish Community President Riccardo Pacifici called on Parliament to take steps to pass a law banning Holocaust denial.