Disinfo: Italian fight against coronavirus “fake news” could lead to Orwellian system of thought control


In Italy, dissidents from dominant thinking are increasingly blacklisted and silenced. There is a climate of witch hunts typical of a system that considers dissidents as enemies who should be destroyed. The fight against “fake news” related to the COVID-19 epidemic has made this trend increasingly evident. Fake news verification commissions have been set up, lists of allegedly unreliable  Italian websites are compiled by a foreigner, videos on the epidemic “contrary to the standards of our community” are removed from YouTube. If this mechanism becomes state policy then Italian journalists, writers or bloggers such as Maurizio Blondet, Massimo Mazzucco, Enrica Perucchietti, Silvana De Mari, Danilo  Quinto, Diego Fusaro – or politicians like  Sara Cunial – will be blacklisted and put in prison.

First, the most prominent dissidents would disappear, hunted by the political police, deprived of their freedom, “cured” by state psychiatrists and finally shot by a Party assassin. But in this Orwellian system nobody would be safe: the Party could also imprison people who express criticism by mistake. This new society would resemble Nazi Germany with its Gestapo and death camps, Stalinist Russia with its Gulag and psychiatric hospitals, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia. Such a scenario could happen in present-day Italy.


Conspiracy theory. No evidence is provided to support the article’s claims that Italy is becoming or could become a totalitarian dictatorship that persecutes and exterminates dissidents.

The article repeats a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that seeks to discredit liberalism claiming that liberal societies are (or are becoming) totalitarian systems ruled by “globalist elites” and “shadow governments” which persecute anyone who expresses views that dissent from dominant “politically correct” liberal-globalist thinking.

The article also contains the recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative claiming  EU and member state efforts to counter coronavirus-related disinformation are attempts to censor and persecute dissenting views.

Italy, like the the European Union as a whole, is committed to respecting the freedom and pluralism of the media as well as the right to freedom of expression, which includes the right to receive and impart information without interference by public authority. This committment is enshrined in Article 11 of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The proliferation of disinformation and misinformation around COVID-19 throughout the world has potentially harmful consequences for public health and effective crisis communication. Therefore, the EU and member states have been trying to counter coronavirus-related disinformation, including through detection, analysis and exposure of disinformation campaigns related to the pandemic. Neither the EU nor the Italian government are planning  to "criminalise" or  censor coronavirus lies.

Read similar cases claiming that the West’s open societies are liberal concentration camps, that as a result of the coronavirus liberal democracies have collapsed and will be replaced by harsh military-medical dictatorships and  that any critic of the EU is considered a politically incorrect dissenter and subject to media persecution


  • Reported in: Issue 203
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Italy
  • Keywords: coronavirus, fake news, Censorship, European Union, Conspiracy theory


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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