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Riccardo Nanni Maurizio Napolitano

Abstract

This article investigates the online public reception of travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy and the role of civil society in communicating them. In particular, it observes the ‘2020 Christmas Decree’ provision allowing people living in municipalities with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants to move within a 30-kilometre radius from their town’s border on given days during the Christmas period. To help understand these new rules, a group of three civic hackers created a tool called ‘30cappa’, providing a map visualisation for citizens to check where they could legally travel, triggering online and press debates on the new rules. By analysing these online and media debates, this article finds that the Italian authorities’ communication around the ‘Christmas Decree’ rules was unclear to the general public. In this context, local news outlets sought to play a clarifying role, drawing from communication actions by civil society actors. Through these findings, this article contributes to the literature on the public communication role of civil society in times of emergency. 

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Section
Research Articles