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Italy calls for banning iPhone app over "Mafia" mention

updated 12:25 am EDT, Fri October 1, 2010

"What Country" generalizes about Italy, others

A minister in the Italian parliament's Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei Deputati) who is the undersecretary of tourism has directed the country's equivalent of the attorney general to investigate legal action against app maker Apalon for their program What Country. The minister believes the app defames Italy by mentioning that the country is best known for "Pizza, Mafia, Pasta, Scooters."

The app touts itself as a "humorous tour of the world," helping users locate and learn about different countries. In addition to the mention of the Mafia on the main page for Italy, What Country also features a juxtaposed picture of a gag "Mafia Parking Only" sign next to the famous Trevi fountain.

The main objection, says minister Michela Vittoria Brambilla, is the association of Italy with the Mafia.

Other countries also get generalized as well, though only the entry for Italy has engendered controversy so far. For example, Germany is listed as being known for "beer, discipline and autobahns," and South Africa is apparently known for "Vuvuzelas, tribal dancing, world football championships." The US is described as "melting pot, hamburger, the American Dream."

Brambilla, a close associate of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is demanding Apple remove the app from the App Store. Thus far, neither Apalon nor Apple have commented on the complaint.

by MacNN Staff





  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Oct 2010


    comment title

    It makes me sad to be 50% Italian when I see idiots like this who don't understand the difference between media and real life. Then again, I guess I should expect it, after all Italy is a European country, and Europe is the Land of Censorship.

  1. Jeff Simpson

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mama Mia! That's-a-Horrible!

    (Read in a Marlon Brandon voice...)

    Wassa matta you, Italia? Didja lose your sense of huma? Dis kinda ting, dis generalization, dis disrespect - its gotta stop. It's hurtin' da family, and family always come first.

  1. tonton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Google is your friend.{moz:distributionID}:{moz:locale}:{moz:official}&biw=1280&bih=627

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Do the Italians consider it OK if the

    organization is called the Cosa Nostra. Sicily is part of Italy, right? Are they saying that the organization doesn't exist or something? The Mafia is connected to Italy like cocaine is connected to Columbia in some context. They're not the only connections, but it is one of them. I can't imagine that Italy is trying to deny the Cosa Nostra's existence. Especially after all those Godfather movies.

  1. tortenteufel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    why investigate ?

    just make Apalon an offer they can't refuse.......

  1. tightzeit

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Paramount look out

    Even though they avoided using specific nomenclature on 'The Godfather' flicks, they brought the mafia well and truly into the mainstream. Ban the movies.

    Perhaps she's using this beat-up as a means of promoting Italy, after all, any press is good press, right? As long as people are thinking about Italy, they're thinking about going to Italy, right?

    Peter Jackson will be shaking in his boots, it's not enough the MEAA has tried to blackball 'The Hobbitt', he might now be responsible for everyone thinking that New Zealand resembles Mordor.

  1. gor3don

    Joined: Dec 1969


    to be fair

    Does the app say China is known for great food, currency manipulation, poisoned toys and all the cheap dollar store c*** that's around?

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is all about stereotyping. How far can you push before offending anyone.... especially people outside of U.S. People living in U.S. tends not to take things personally. Imagine if we do, it will be ongoing Israel vs. Palestine and this giant nation will literally falls apart.

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