Italian Elections: Internet, Grillo’s Blog and the Case of Media Freedom

26 Feb

English: Beppe Grillo, Italian comedian, activ...

English: Beppe Grillo, Italian comedian, activist and blogger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the protesters raged against the political system of Italy in 2009, they were ignored. Now under spotlight, most of them have disbanded elections in 2013. Italians are energetic voters who always turn up on the polling stations. This time most of them preferred to go behind an Italian comedian. He might be a source of amusement for many around the world, but as the Guardian places it: “the success of Five Star Movement (M5S) is no joke” that is being effectively carried out by comedian Beppe Grillo. The purpose underlying this movement is to reject the traditional politics in Italy. No one knew that Five Star Movement will gain a substantial momentum that would unveil itself as the second most potent political force in Italy. What compelled them to stick behind a movement started by a comedian?

The increasing role of online protests and social media campaigns also intensified M5S. Grillo’s blog went viral to promote the cause of ‘direct democracy’ in Italy in order to counter the traditional politics. John Hooper in his article “Italy’s web guru tastes power as new political movement goes viral” mentions ‘Casaleggio’s rules’

Roberto Casaleggio’s five golden rules for building a successful, internet-based political movement:

1 Create participation. You need a community to start with.

2 Understand the internet, including its sociology. Don’t think of it as something additional, but as a new reality – a new world.

3 Speak the language of the internet. In particular, do not say things that cannot be verified on the web.

4 Keep the rules of your movement simple.

5 Realise that you are empowering. The cells you create will take on a life of their own.

His five golden rules have triggered grave consequences:

1- The US stock market had its worst drop in more than 3 months

2- The Bloomberg television has reported that this time 7% fewer voter turn out was seen in the elections held in Italy

3- The elections remain inconclusive with no clear winner

4- Italy being the second debt ridden country after Greece might have to leave the European Union

Italians have clearly rejected the austerity measures of Monti and have also voiced their views against the caged freedom of speech. Most of the Italian media outlets and channels are controlled by traditional political parties. For instance, the largest commercial broadcaster of the country, Mediaset (Gruppoe Mediaset in Italian) has 38.7% stakes from the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Arab countries are not the only ones facing media oppression. Europeans from Italy also had to rely on an alternate form of media. If Italy can’t offer them a medium to vent out their feelings, voters will definitely look towards something like Grillo’s blog!

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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Political Ticker


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