A hoax about the Italian government introducing a “Family pride” is circulating across the world
On social media, many are claiming that the government led by Giorgia Meloni instituted Family Pride Month, but this is not true. Here is a reconstruction of how the fake news was created.
Since the beginning of June, a false story has been circulating daily on social networks, in different countries and in different languages, claiming that Giorgia Meloni’s government has introduced a “Family Pride Month” in Italy to support so-called “traditional families”. This event would be the Italian government’s response to Pride Month, which celebrates the pride of the Lgbtq+ community and its fight for civil rights every June.
However, there is no official or unofficial confirmation of this alleged government initiative, none of the major media in Italy have mentioned it, and no proposal to launch a Family Pride Month has been submitted to Parliament. Despite this, the false information quickly spread to various countries, including the United States and Turkey. But how did this story come about? And how did it begin to circulate with such force?
Where false news comes from
On June 1st, the first day of Pride month, a Twitter account called “Radio Genova” shared a video of a parade in which many people can be seen holding placards reading “Family Day” and banners with various slogans, including “Let’s choose life” and “National demonstration for life”. Commenting on the footage, Radio Genova wrote in English: “Family Pride 2023 in Rome. We defend our children”.
Up to June 16, the tweet received more than 2,000 likes and more than 150,000 views. It should be noted that the Radio Genova account publishes tweets in English that various fact-checking sites, including our colleagues at Facta.news, have proven to spread disinformation on various topics, such as Italian politics and the war in Ukraine.
The official name of the event captured in the video is not “Family Pride”. Actually, the video published by Radio Genova on June 1st is taken from a clip made by the ultra-Catholic association “ProVita & Famiglia” (in english, “Pro-life & Family”) to summarize the event that took place in Rome on May 20, 2023, entitled “Manifestazione Nazionale per la Vita ‘Scegliamo la Vita’” (“National Demonstration for Life ‘Let’s choose Life’”).
The demonstration was organized, for the second year in a row, by ProVita itself, with the participation of Catholic and pro-life associations and foundations. The website of the organizers refers to abortion as a “wound” and states that the purpose of the event is to “protect life in every stage and condition, from conception to its natural end”.
On June 3rd, Paul Golding, leader of the far-right group Britain First, shared on Twitter the video reposted by Radio Genova writing that, while other countries were celebrating Lgbt+ Pride Month, Italy launched “‘FAMILY Pride Month’ with a massive march” in Rome. The same day, the false story was reposted by Sachin Jose, an Indian Catholic journalist and activist with over 100,000 Twitter followers. Jose’s tweet in English explicitly quotes Prime Minister Meloni saying that the Italian government launched a Family Pride Month to “promote the traditional family” and to “counter” Pride Month. Up to June 16, Jose’s tweet had received more than 37,000 likes and around 5 million views on Twitter.
The false news, fueled by Catholic and right-wing circles, quickly spread on social media and was echoed in various languages, including French, Spanish, Slovenian and Turkish. On June 5, Vince Dao, a conservative American influencer who has 164,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel and more than 180,000 followers on his Instagram profile, expressed his wish for a similar event in the United States.
In recent days, several international fact-checking organizations have published articles explaining that the news about Family Pride Month is false. The Associated Press interviewed Jacopo Coghe, a spokesman for Pro Vita & Famiglia, the association that organized the May 20 anti-abortion demonstration whose images were misleadingly republished on Twitter. Coghe said that “there has been no announcement” by the Italian government to create a Family Pride Month and that “as far as we know, there hasn’t even been a proposal”. “The proof that this is fake news is the fact that no Italian media has ever talked about it. It is a falsehood that comes directly from abroad”, Coghe said. Vincenzo Branà of the Arcigay association also denied the news.
A recent analysis by the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) showed that misinformation against the LGBT+ community is one of the most widespread in the European Union. False stories in this regard seem to be growing in number and insidiousness, with unfounded claims inciting hatred against minorities, inclusive laws and institutions.
Andrea Zitelli, journalist at Pagella Politica/Facta
Photo: Flickr, MEAphotogallery