JCU 1920x116
JCU 1920x116
JCU 1920x116
RIS H1 700x180

Italy's state broadcaster journalists strike amid media censorship row

RAI strike follows Scurati controversy in April.

Journalists at Italian state broadcaster RAI are staging a 24-hour strike on Monday in protest against the "suffocating control" over their work by Giorgia Meloni's right-wing government.

The journalists' trade union Usigrai called the strike in protest over alleged "attempts to reduce RAI into a megaphone for the government" as well as over various other complaints including staff shortages in news rooms and the failure to replace workers who retire or go on maternity leave.

Usigrai has published an animated video outlining the reasons behind the strike which follows the political controversy over the last-minute cancellation of a talkshow appearance by the anti-fascist writer and academic Antonio Scurati last month.

Scurati had been due to deliver an anti-fascist monologue on the Saturday night show Chesarà a few days before the Festa della Liberazione, a public holiday to commemorate the end of the Fascist regime and of the Nazi occupation during world war two, as well as the victory of Italy's Resistance movement of partisans who opposed the regime.

Scurati accused RAI of censorship after his monologue was dropped abruptly for what he was told were "editorial reasons", claiming that the move highlighted alleged attempts by Meloni's government to exert its influence over the state broadcaster.

In his cancelled speech, the Strega Prize-winning writer criticised the "ruling post-Fascist party" for wanting to "re-write history" rather than "repudiate its neo-fascist past".

RAI director Paolo Corsini flatly rejected any talk of censorship, describing the claims as "completely baseless".

Meloni responded to the controversy by posting Scurati's text on her Facebook page, stating that the broadcaster had "simply refused to pay 1800 euro (the monthly salary of many employees) for a minute of monologue".

The premier added that the Italian people could "freely judge" the contents of the text which was later read live on air by Chesarà presenter Serena Bortone in an act of solidarity with Scurati.

Over the last year RAI has seen several veteran, high-profile presenters leave the broadcaster including Fabio Fazio, Bianca Berlinguer and Amadeus.

In May 2023, seven months after Meloni took office, RAI’s then-chief executive officer Carlo Fuortes resigned, complaining of “political conflict” over his role.

In recent days RAI responded to Usigrai by claiming that the union's decision to strike is linked to "ideological and political reasons".

The internal "right-wing" union, Unirai, has asked its members to cover the shifts of those striking on Monday, even if that means coming in to work on their day off, reports newspaper Domani.

The strike at RAI comes a few days after Italy dropped five places in the latest world press freedom index report by Reporters Sans Frontieres which cited as one of its reasons the case of a member of the ruling parliamentary coalition - Antonio Angelucci of the Lega party - who is trying to acquire the country's second biggest news agency (AGI).

Photo credit: Antonello Marangi / Shutterstock.com.

Chase 724 x 450
Acorn P H3 - 1920 x 190
Acorn P H3 - 1920 x 190
Acorn P H3 - 1920 x 190
Marymount - International School Rome
Acorn High H5 bis 1400 x 360