Italy-Overview

The core civic freedoms of association, peaceful assembly, and expression are protected under Italian law however challenges exist in practice. People have a constitutional right to peaceful assembly but security forces can legally disperse a protest if is considered seditious, damaging to the prestige of the authorities, or threatening to the public order or safety of citizens. There have been instances of clashes between protestors and security forces, which have used excessive force to control protests. Human rights defenders including those working for civil society organisations occasionally experience threats and harassment. In 2018, the coalition government of the League party and Five Star Movement pursued a hard line against civil society organisations providing humanitarian support to refugees and migrants. Although free expression is constitutionally guaranteed, Italian civil society organisation Ossigeno documented 221 free expression violations during the first half of 2016. Most of the media is politically aligned, which undermines neutral reporting, and the harassment of journalists further restrains the space for free expression.