19 Dec 2019 Lvl. 2
Alert created on: 02 Jan 2019 n° 2/2019 Italy
Government Decided to Abolish Public Funding to the Press
On 29 December 2018, the Italian Parliament confirmed the government’s 2019 budget, with 327 votes in favour, 228 against, and one abstention. Among other things, the budget includes a progressive reduction of direct subsidies to safeguard media pluralism (minus 20% in 2019, minus 50% in 2020, minus 75% in 2021). The public funding to media pluralism is supposed to be totally abolished by 2022. On 28 December, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that this is "a sacrifice imposed on everyone" and should not be understood "as an attack on freedom of information". However, the Italian Federation of Journalists' Unions (Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana, FNSI) and the Journalists' Order (Ordine dei Giornalisti) stated that this economic measure will cause the closure of numerous national newspapers. Both organisations view this measure as a serious attack on media pluralism. The newspapers threatened with closure, following the decision, are: Avvenire (receiving € 5.9 million in subsidies per year), Italia oggi (€ 4.8 million), Libero quotidiano (€ 3.7 million), Il Manifesto (€ 3 million), Il Foglio (800,000 euros), in addition to Catholic weekly magazines and linguistic minorities publications.
- Mapping Media Freedom report: "Italy: Ruling party unveils plan to phase out press subsidies" + update: "Premier confirms cuts to press subsidies"
- Statement from the Italian Federation of Journalists' Unions: "Editoria, la Fnsi al presidente Conte: «I tagli produrranno la chiusura di testate e la perdita di posti di lavoro»"
- News report in Il Giornale: "Manovra, accordo sul taglio ai fondi per l'editoria: stop dal 2022"
19 Dec 2019
Reply from the Italian authorities (information provided by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers)