Page last updated at 22:20 GMT, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Mussolini iPhone application is withdrawn

By Duncan Kennedy
BBC News, Rome

An Apple"s Iphone user shows an application from the Italian Itunes store called IMussolini on January 28, 2010 in Rome
The iMussolini had become the most popular iPhone download in Italy

An iPhone application that allows users to download speeches by the former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini has been withdrawn.

Its developer says he is removing it after legal threats.

But the application has also faced protests from Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors who described it as offensive.

IMussolini, as the application is known, has become the most popular iPhone download in Italy.

It has even beaten video games based on the current film sensation Avatar.

It is a 25-minute collection of video and audio clips from 100 of Mussolini's speeches.

But now it has been withdrawn after a row with the film institute where the pictures came from.

The institute says the application is an aberration, far removed from the educational purposes for which the clips should be used.

Luigi Marino, who developed iMussolini, said he took it down after legal threats. But he says he intends to put it back on when the matter is cleared up.

A number of Jewish groups had expressed deep concern about the app.

One said it was part of the slide towards legitimising fascism and the rehabilitation of Mussolini.

Another said it was an unacceptable attempt to exalt what he called a filthy past.

Apple told us it did not want to comment on the matter.

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