M5S accused of 'plagiarising' manifesto

ROME – Large sections of the manifesto of Five Star Movement (M5S) are plagiarised, with parts transferred verbatim from Wikipedia, articles and even supporters of rival parties, according to analysis released Thursday by Il Post.

 The electoral plan on M5S website was written on the “Rousseau” platform, the party’s online operating system that allows people to directly contribute to the party’s manifesto, propose law changes and select their candidates in online polls.

 Il Post claims that more than 11 of the 20 thematic chapters on the party’s website contain such duplicated material and that it is present without proper acknowledgement of the source. Scientific journals, newspaper articles and documents produced in Parliament by the party’s rivals have allegedly been copied.

 The paper detailed how one section on “Economic Development” contained several paragraphs from “a parliamentary question by Democratic Party Senator Giorgi Roilo, a paper by the Centre for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy and a piece written in 2010 by economist Jean-Paul Fitoussi, whose words are reproduced as if they were the ideas of M5S.”

 An entire interview with Swedish activist, Helena Norberg-Hodge, is also said to be among the materials.

 A spokesperson for M5S hit back that the report was merely stating the obvious: “It is well known that the parts that according to them are copied, and that are clearly cited, are the analytical parts. We translate from data analysis, and from third-party studies. Of course, we have taken from dossiers and scientific studies.”