ROME, December 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Italian government’s Ministry for Equal Opportunities has issued guidelines ordering journalists to write without “discriminating” against homosexuals and transsexuals, threatening the possibility of professional sanctions and even potential jail time.
The Ministry’s Ufficio Nazionale Antidiscriminazioni Razziali (National Bureau Against Racial Discrimination, UNAR) has issued what has been called the “rainbow paper”, a document setting out national guidelines for journalists that echo point for point the assertions and demands of the international homosexualist lobby.
Alessandro Pagano, a member of the Chamber of Deputies, called the guidelines “nothing short of absurd” and warned that it is “yet another attack on freedom of opinion and expression, conducted by methods of the (fascist) ‘squad’ of intimidation against journalists.”
“In other words,” said Pagano, it intends “to impose on the public the LGBT ideology.” It will allow lobbyists to use the press to spread propaganda “under the threat of sanctions,” to promote only “a positive image” of homoseuxals. “Any contradiction will therefore be prevented and any voice in dissent removed.”
According to the guidelines, no television programmes on “LGBT issues” will be allowed to present the issues in terms of a debate between sides. Talk shows are no longer to juxtapose one person defending the LGBT position and the other opposing in a debate, “to establish a contradiction” between the two. Instead, the press is to construct the smooth appearance of complete social agreement.
A journalist reporting public statements, including those of “politicians and representatives of institutions,” contrary to the guidelines can do so “for the record” but must “abide by certain rules,” and be careful to use “quotation marks for speeches.” In addition they must explain that the speakers are wrong to oppose statements from the representatives of LGBT organizations.
According to Pagano, the government paper “kills freedom of information, justifying and encouraging discriminatory practices,” such as that suffered by the vice president of the Union of Italian Catholic Jurists, Giancarlo Cerrelli, who last month was dropped at the last moment from a television debate by the public broadcaster and replaced by a speaker favourable to the movement.
“We wonder if the Prime Minister has been made aware of this document and its danger to freedom of information,” Pagano added.
Despite the name, “Guidelines for Information Respectful of LGBT People,” the paper is more than a list of friendly suggestions. It warns that those who do not conform risk formal complaints to the Italian professional standards office – an action that can result in job losses in the heavily regulated field – and hints darkly that worse could be to come when the proposed “anti-homophobia” legislation passes.
It is clear, Pagano said, that the “first victims” of this rulebook will be Catholic journalists “as will all our clear writers who seriously, every day, do their work trying to provide information in a balanced manner, impartial and inclusive of all positions.”
Included in the list of standards is the idea that a person’s sex and “gender” must not be treated as synonymous, with the former being merely anatomical and the latter a matter of personal preference but which nevertheless must be given complete authority. Conversely, journalists are instructed to use the term “sexual orientation” rather than “sexual preference” because the latter implies that being a homosexual is a mere matter of choice, and not an immutable, inalterable state of being. It should also never be implied that “reparative therapy” can change a person’s “sexual orientation”.
The phrases “gay family” or “homosexual family” are also to be avoided in favour of “omogenitoriali” (roughly, same-parent) families. No distinction must be made between “gay marriage” and “traditional marriage”, as though the former is “an institution in part, different from the traditional.” The document says, “Marriage does not exist in nature, while homosexuality exists in nature.” Mention of the three concepts: “tradition, nature and procreation,” is “a sure sign of homophobia,” it states.
Indications that children adopted by homosexuals are in any way different from other adopted children is also to be avoided, as is prioritizing adoption in terms of the best interests of the child requiring “both a male and female figure as a fundamental condition for the completeness of psychological equilibrium.” On a related note, the term “surrogate mother” for a woman who gestates a child for someone else is also to be avoided, in favour of “gestation support.”
Terms such as “flaunt” and “confess” should be avoided, in favour of “declare” because, the paper says, homosexuality is not a sin. The acronym expression “LGBT,” the document said, “is rarely used in Italy but should be acquired by the common language, used and made known.”
In choosing photos, journalists should not portray “LGBT people” in the context of “Gay Pride” events, or depict them participating in displays of public nudity or at nightclubs. These choices, the guidelines say, relegate homosexuality to only the realm of sexual activities. Instead, better to choose photos portraying “images of everyday life.”
Transsexuals should not be presented as prostitutes or in extravagant poses or clothes, as such photos depict them as “freaks”. In referring to a “trans woman,” that is a man who self-identifies as a woman, the press must use only the female pronoun, regardless of the man’s physical condition. If someone “feels herself to be a woman, she should be treated as such,” the guidelines state.
The paper is the result of a series of government sponsored training seminars for journalists titled, “Pride and Prejudice” that were held throughout October in Milan, Rome, Naples and Palermo. They are based on a government “National Strategy” document, which in its turn was developed from a resolution passed by the Council of Europe, and go so far as to list “homophobia and transphobia” as crimes, even though they do not appear in the Italian criminal code.
The National Strategy document, which outlines a “multi-year project” to be undertaken by government, aimed at creating media and educational materials aimed at changing the attitudes of the Italian people toward homosexuality and giving “a strong impetus to the process of cultural change.”
Massimo Introvigne, a prominent Italian sociologist writing on behalf of Manif pour Tous Italia, said in La Bussola Quotidiana that the treatment of homosexual doctrines as law is a genuine threat, and renders the government as a kind of propaganda ministry for the homosexualist lobby.
Treating sex and gender as distinct, he notes, “really is the first commandment of the gender ideology, but now it becomes mandatory.”
Introvigne accuses the UNAR of reviving the Mussolini-era Ministero della Cultura Popolare (Ministry of Popular Culture), commonly abbreviated as Min.Cul.Pop. that promoted fascism and prohibited the publication of materials opposed to the regime.
These guidelines, however, “inadvertently do us a huge service,” he said. “They explain exactly, in black and white, what will really be prohibited by the law against homophobia.”
“Other than protecting gay people – as it should be, and as already stated in the laws already in force – from insults, threats and violence. Here it is the dictatorship of relativism, without subtleties and without mercy.”
Despite freedom of the press being constitutionally guaranteed, a 2009 report by an international watchdog group, Freedom House, ranked Italy as one of the worst countries in the western world on press censorship. During the leadership of Silvio Berlusconi, Italy came under increasing criticism for passing laws allowing the Prime Minister’s private media company a near monopoly on print and broadcast media outlets. A report by the Vienna-based International Press Institute cited lack of laws regarding conflicts of interest and arcane licensing procedures for journalists as impediments to press freedom and accountability.