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Italian Law Aims to Fine and Jail Owners of Pro Ana sites


In what would be a landmark move, Italian officials are proposing that owners and publishers of pro-anorexia or pro-bulimia websites be subject to jail time or fines.

The legislation would work by adding a clause to an existing law that makes it illegal to assist or instigate suicide, reports Yahoo Health.

The Italian government is worried that the rise of pro-ana types of websites is promoting eating disorders as positive lifestyle choices and that they pose a public health threat.

Yet critics of the bill say that targeting website owners would mean targeting many young people who are suffering from eating disorders - and who may already be in a vulnerable state.

“People who create and consume this content are not villains; they are struggling, and sometimes they are very sick," said Claire Mysko, teen outreach coordinator for the National Eating Disorders Association. "That’s why we believe so strongly in providing a positive alternative.”

An 'ultra-conservative' move?

If the bill is approved, offenders could face up to two years in jail or fines of $10,000 to $100,000 euros. The fines would double if the website in question was found to have influenced the behavior of a person 14 years old or younger.

Critics are calling the move ultra-conservative, stating that the law would only punish those that truly need help.

"[It] is not only deluded, it is likely to be counterproductive," wrote journalist Angela Azzaro.

The law has yet to be voted on, but both houses of parliament must approve the legislation in order for it to pass.

Source: Yahoo Health