Wikipedia has taken its Italian site off line in response to a proposed new law from the Berlusconi government. The law lets the government issue citations to any website with "offensive" content, which is being widely interpreted as posts on blogs that are critical of the government. The offending site operators would have 48 hours to change or remove the content and then face stiff fines.

The Italian site now redirects to a page which reads:

With this announcement, we want to warn our readers against the risks arising from leaving to the arbitrary will of any party to enforce the alleged protection of its image and its reputation. Under such provisions, web users would be most probably led to cease dealing with certain topics or people, just to "avoid troubles".
We want to be able to keep a free and open-to-all encyclopedia, because our articles are also your articles - Wikipedia is already neutral, why neutralize it?

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