Weblogs between Counterinformation and Power: an Italian Case History


  • Fausto Colombo Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Maria Francesca Murru Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore




weblog, counter-information, public sphere, power, public communication


The paper studies the civic and political role of the weblog in the public sphere. In the first part the authors review the current debate, reconstructing on the one side the reflection on the practices of weblogging as participative forms, and on the other, that on the specificity of the weblog as a medium. In the second part, the paper presents the analysis of the role played by the blog Macchianera.it in the diplomatic crisis between Italy and the United States following the killing of an Italian secret service agent by American soldiers in Baghdad. After an historical reconstruction of the case, the paper focalizes the involved subjectivities: traditional media, weblogs, political institutions and military authorities. Then, the analysis concentrates on the individuation of conflictual equilibriums from three different points of view: public opinion, media market and strategic fields. The analysis tries to demonstrate that blog micro-information does not necessarily represent a counter-informative practice competing with traditional political, military or mediatic hegemony. At the opposite, bloggers’ communicative strategies should be analyzed within the more complex strategies of the various social subjects, including the institutional ones, with which they should be appropriately compared. Weblogs entre a Contra-informação e o Poder: a história de um caso Italiano Este artigo estuda o papel cívico e político do weblog na esfera pública. Primeiro, os autores fazem uma revisão da debate actual, reconstruindo uma reflexão sobre, por um lado, as práticas de weblogging enquanto formas participativas, e por outro lado, o weblog enquanto medium. Segundo, os autores apresentam a análise do papel desempenhado pelo weblog italiano Macchianera.it durante crise diplomática entre a Itália e os EUA, na sequência do assassinato de um agente secreto italiano pelas tropas americanas em Bagdade. Terceiro, após a reconstrução histórica deste caso, o artigo focaliza nas subjectividades envolvidas: media tradicionais, weblogs, instituições políticas e autoridades militares. Depois a análise concentra-se na individuação dos equilíbrios conflituais, a partir de três pontos de vista: opinião pública, mercado dos media e campos estratégicos. A análise deste estudo de caso tem como objectivo demonstrar que a micro-informação do blog não representa necessariamente uma prática de contra-informação em competição com a tradicional hegemonia discursiva política, militar ou mediática. Pelo contrário, as estratégias comunicativas dos bloggers devem ser analisadas no seio de estratégias comunicativas mais complexas que envolvem múltiplos sujeitos, incluindo os institucionais, com os quais devem ser adequadamente comparados.

Author Biographies

Fausto Colombo, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Professor of Media Communications Theories and New Media and Digital Communication at the Faculty of Political Sciences, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan. Director of Osservatorio sulla Comunicazione, a media and communication research centre based at the Università Cattolica of Milan, involved in projects both with public institutions and private companies. Since 2005, he is member of the steering committee of Associazione Italiana di Sociologia (AIS). From 2001 to 2006, he has been Italian representative in European Concerted Research Action designed as Cost Action 20 “The impact of Internet on the mass media in Europe”. In academic year 2003-04 he has been a member of the valuation commissions of degree courses in the “Campus One” CRUI (Conferenza dei Rettori delle Università Italiane) project. He is referee in PRIN (Cofunding of Research Projects of National Interest) projects of MIUR (Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca). Since 2005 he is member of the Scientific committee of Triennale di Milano, a foundation about design, fashion and audio-visual communication. He is member of the editorial board of “Comunicazioni Sociali. Rivista di Media, Spettacolo e Studi Culturali” and “Problemi dell'Informazione”. His scientific activity concerns sociology of media, with particular attention at the global development of digitalization and at the processes of incorporation of ICTs in everyday life. His researches support theorethical hipothesis with a strong empirical approach, more and more enclosed in an international dimension.

Maria Francesca Murru, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Phd Candidate, Media and Communication Department, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore.




How to Cite

Colombo, F., & Murru, M. F. (2007). Weblogs between Counterinformation and Power: an Italian Case History. Observatorio (OBS*), 1(2). https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS12200778