Because it is important that social networks do not define right and wrong

Because it is important that social networks do not define right and wrong

The story involving the Magnum Photos agency - which removed a discussed reportage from its archive - makes us reflect on the freedom to inform and its limits: individual ethics should not be confused with the law

(photo : Getty Images) by Andrea Monti *

* Supreme Court lawyer, professor in charge of law of the Order and public safety at the University of Chieti-Pescara

On Wired I had commented on the controversy concerning Magnum Photos, then resolved by the same agency's announcement of the review of the contents of its archives and of the keyword system to identify the images of the reports (in short, a report on child prostitution by David Alan Harvey, available in the photo agency's catalog until recently, it aroused bitter controversy, costing the aforementioned accusation of selling photos of child pornography). The story offers the starting point for a more general reflection on the relationship between the journalist's duty to inform, the right of people to know and the claim to impose limitations on the freedom of the press and expression in the name of individual convictions, amplified by the possibility of using social networks as a means of manifesting dissent.

The premise, perhaps superfluous but necessary, is that the possibility of freely expressing dissent is by definition positive, because it constitutes the prerequisite for the functioning of democracy. Therefore, the right of anyone to express even very strong opinions on content and behavior of public relevance and of general interest is not in question. Indeed, it is precisely this right that lies at the basis of freedom of expression, once reserved only for journalists and now usable also and above all by those who animate blogging, social networking and instant messaging platforms.

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