The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) strongly condemns the recent actions taken by the Italian government coalition against the editorial independence of RadiotelevisioneItaliana (RAI) (https://www.rai.it/), the national public service broadcaster.
SEEMO is expressing concern because the Parliamentary Committee has singled out the authors of a investigative TV show Report, aired on Rai 3 and broadcasted since 1997 (founded by Milena Gabanelli and since 2017 presented by Sigfrido Ranucci), for questioning. Sigfrido Ranucci deputy director of RAI In-Depth Broadcast Directorate (Direzione Approfondimento) and Paolo Corsini, who chairs the Directorate appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on 7 November 2023.
This move is viewed as a form of intimidation against of an investigative journalism critical of the current government.
SEEMO calls on the Italian Parliament to safeguard RAI’s independence and prevent unwarranted political interference in its journalistic work.
Furthermore, SEEMO expresses concern over management changes. These developments, coupled with proposed legislative amendments threatening RAI’s financial autonomy, raise serious questions about the broadcaster’s editorial independence. SEEMO calls on the Italian Parliament to enact comprehensive reforms safeguarding public service media from undue interference, ensuring financial support in line with European media freedom standards.
In a separate development, SEEMO denounces the Italian government’s decision to reduce RAI’s license fee in 2024. The budget plan, reducing the annual license fee from 90 EUR to 70 EUR, poses a significant threat to RAI’s financial stability. In Italy, the TV license fee is paid since 2016 automatically as an additional amount in the electricity bill.
Some politicians in power push for complete abolition of the license fee.
SEEMO calls on the European Commission and other institutions in Brussels to react connected to the developments in Italy.
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non-profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.
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