There will be no news in Italy today; or, at least, hardly any. That is not a prediction, but fact: none of the main newspapers are appearing because their reporters and editors are on a 24-hour strike. Today they are due to be joined by radio, TV and some internet journalists. The action is over a parliamentary bill proposing a law that Silvio Berlusconi’s government claims safeguards privacy. Most of Italy’s editors, judges and prosecutors say it is intended to shield politicians, and particularly the prime minister, whose career has been ridden with financial and sexual scandals. The so-called “gagging law” would curb the ability of police and prosecutors to record phone conversations and plant listening devices. It would also stop journalists publishing the resulting transcripts. Investigators seeking to listen in on a suspect would need permission from three judges. Regardless of circumstances, eavesdropping warrants would expire after 75 days, after which they must be renewed every three days. The media would only be able to publish a summary of the findings of an investigation after it had ended.