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Last Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007, 22:45 GMT 23:45 UK
Italy row over Church abuse film
Pope Benedict XVI (file image)
Pope Benedict says sexual abuse by priests has created deep wounds
An Italian politician has sparked a furore by urging state broadcaster Rai to block the transmission of a controversial BBC documentary.

The programme, aired in the UK in October, investigates the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church.

Italian journalist Michele Santoro has asked to purchase the rights to the film to broadcast it on his talk show.

But Mario Landolfi, who heads Rai's parliamentary oversight committee, has asked Rai to prevent its transmission.

The Panorama programme, Sex Crimes and the Vatican, has been Google Italia's most popular online video choice since a version with translated subtitles was put online.

The Catholic newspaper Avvenire says that the bloggers who posted the documentary online have committed "wicked slander".

'Preventative censorship'

Mr Landolfi, of the right-leaning Alleanza Nazionale party, said the programme should not be screened "to avoid public service television becoming a media execution squad ready to open fire on the Church and the Pope".

His intervention has drawn the wrath of other politicians who attacked his attempts at what they called "preventative censorship".

"Neither the oversight committee nor individual politicians have the right to ask for a preventive censorship of any journalists or topic," said lawmaker Giuseppe Giulietti.

Mr Santoro, a left-leaning journalist, wants to air the documentary as the centre-piece of his discussion programme, "Year Zero".

The investigation examines a secret document which sets out a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church.

Crimen Sollicitationis, it says, is a Latin document penned in 1962 and imposing an oath of secrecy on the child victim, the priest dealing with the allegation and any witnesses.

Watch Sex crimes and the Vatican


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