Italian PM Meloni Accused of Stifling Free Speech Over Banned RAI Criticism

Italian PM Meloni faces backlash over allegations of political control over state broadcaster RAI, sparking debate on media freedom and Italy's authoritarian past.

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Quadri Adejumo
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Italian PM Meloni Accused of Stifling Free Speech Over Banned RAI Criticism

Italian PM Meloni Accused of Stifling Free Speech Over Banned RAI Criticism

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is facing sharp criticism from opposition parties and the German press over allegations that she is exerting "suffocating political control" over state broadcaster RAI. The controversy erupted after RAI banned a speech by writer Antonio Scurati that was critical of Meloni for never repudiating fascism.

Scurati, author of a trilogy of historical novels about fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, accused Meloni of trying to impose "cultural and ideological control" at RAI after his pre-recorded speech for the popular "Che Tempo Che Fa" talk show was pulled from the lineup. In the speech, Scurati took aim at Meloni for failing to clearly distance herself from Italy's fascist past.

The cancellation of Scurati's remarks sparked an outcry from Italian opposition leaders, who condemned it as an attack on free speech and artistic expression. RAI news anchors have also staged on-air protests in recent weeks, claiming that Meloni's government is pressuring them to become a "government mouthpiece" rather than an independent public broadcaster.

Why this matters: The Scurati controversy has ignited a heated debate in Italy about media freedom and political influence over state institutions under Meloni's right-wing government. It highlights concerns among critics that Meloni, despite distancing herself from fascism, is still not doing enough to firmly break from Italy's authoritarian past.

Scurati, in response to the banning of his speech, declared that he has now become "an adversary for a government which is trying to impose cultural and ideological control at RAI." The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also weighed in, accusing Meloni of "intense duplicity" in her response to the scandal and attempts to interfere with RAI's editorial independence.

Key Takeaways

  • Italian PM Meloni faces criticism over alleged control of state broadcaster RAI.
  • RAI banned a speech by writer Scurati criticizing Meloni's ties to fascism.
  • Opposition condemns ban as attack on free speech, claim Meloni pressuring RAI.
  • Scurati accuses Meloni of imposing "cultural and ideological control" at RAI.
  • German press accuses Meloni of "intense duplicity" in response to the scandal.