Pro-immigration NGO representatives disrupted, during a film festival in Naples, the screening of a documentary critical towards their activities. An affair that once again represents the intolerance of a specific political side, its desire to censor and silence opponents and - consequently - the need for a law to protect freedom of speech such as the one recently proposed by the Machiavelli Center.

The events occurred at the Human Rights Film Festival, which took place in Naples in recent days with funding (according to their posters) from the Left-administered Campania Region. The Festival, as can be deduced from the name and confirmed by reading the website, has an ideologically marked orientation. Nevertheless, this year it had scheduled the screening (out of competition) of Michelangelo Severgnini's documentary L’urlo.

Severgnini's certainly cannot be categorized as a "right-wing" or worse "racist" work, nor is it hostile to migrants. He often entrusts precisely the latter with the word. But it still goes against the "orthodox" narrative as it shows the role of mafias in human trafficking, the fact that many migrants willing to return to their countries of origin are forced to stay in Libya in the long (and often vain) wait to embark to Europe.

The screening of the film at the said festival on Nov. 25 was disrupted after about 20 minutes by the angry reaction of official representatives of NGOs in the audience. According to the account given by Severgnini himself,

an NGO guy stood up screaming, went to the console, and then intimated to the technicians to stop the screening. He took the microphone, had it opened, and began to speak. [...] He forced the technician to do so [turn off the video projector, ed.]

In this video you can see what happened after the disruption, with several NGO members taking turns seizing the microphones and spewing their anger at the film, the director (who was present in the theater) and the organizers, often resorting to crass insults (director of my assholes) or laughable accusations ("anti-Semite," for no reason at all).

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Now, we cannot from this footage nor from Severgnini's account judge whether what took place falls within the scope of our bill, that is, whether there was violence, even "improper" violence, to block the screening (the organizers for that matter did not resist but immediately bowed to the protesters). Even if we could judge, we would not intend to substitute ourselves for the courts. But one thing is certain: what happened testifies to the climate of censorship and prevarication, which leads to silencing others, preventing meetings of a cultural before political nature. Which reminds us of the importance of a rule such as the one proposed by the Machiavelli Center to protect free speech.

We therefore reiterate the actual call to action already addressed to our readers, inviting them to:

  • read and share our "MachiavelliPolicy", which we have already distributed to MPs;
  • write to your representatives in Parliament, inviting them to read and consider our proposal (you can search for the parliamentarians who represent you and their e-mail addresses at this page for the House and this one for the Senate: both allow you to filter results by constituency of election);
  • make a donation to the Machiavelli to fund outreach and advocacy for the proposal.

We may succeed, in the five years of this term, in translating our proposal into law, thus finally frustrating the bullying of those who want to silence "dissidents" by preventing conferences and political-cultural events.