Mabel Berezin

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Luigi Di Maio, the Italian Five Star Movement’s leader, poses with party founder Beppe Grillo, right, in Rome, on Monday, one day after the party won the highest share of votes in Sunday’s elections. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)

Italy’s March 4 parliamentary election gave a major boost to outsider parties, including the Five Star Movement, which claimed the largest share of the vote (32 percent) as well as the far-fight League. Meanwhile, center parties of the left and right fared worse. The ruling Democratic Party garnered only 18 percent of the vote. The League wiped out former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, which some thought would lead a center-right coalition.

If the traditional parties want to regain their power in Italy, there is one place they may need to start: social media. It was the outside parties that had the stronger social media presence.…  Seguir leyendo »

Responding to the massacre at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, President Barack Obama and other public figures such as John Kerry, author Salman Rushdie -- even the far-right nationalist French politician Marine Le Pen -- have defended the right to freedom of expression as a core democratic value. Huge demonstrations in solidarity with the victims are occurring throughout France and in many European capitals.

The slogan "Je suis Charlie Hebdo" is circulating widely in social media. Twitter is inundated with tweets about the political power of satire. Pictures of demonstrators holding pens in the air abound.

Freedom of expression is undeniably worth defending but is too narrow a frame for this event.…  Seguir leyendo »