The first national TV viewers' strike has been proclaimed from Friday 12 Dec until Sunday 14 Dec. Though a regular occurrence in Milan since 1995, this year the initiative has spread to 12 cities across the country, including Rome. The aim of Milan-based organizers Esterni is to prove that TV is a vulnerable medium and that abstainers can make a difference. They claim that TV has an isolating and dulling influence on people and are aiming to induce 400,000 viewers to abstain from viewing their small-screens in the all-important prime time Saturday night slot from 20.30 to 22.30. In Rome the initiative is being supported by the Go.card organisation which has put together a directory of museums, restaurants, bars, theatres and other cultural or leisure associations offering discounts or special activities to Go.card holders who arrive with a battery-loaded remote control unit during the three-day period. Anti-TV activists in Rome will kick off the event at 21.00 in Campo de Fiori on Friday 12 Dec. For more information and a blow by blow account of the success of the initiative log on to and

The next national strike is scheduled for June 2004, when the organisers are aiming to persuade one million people to keep their televisions turned off.

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