Conference ‘Freedom and Independence in the Italian Media System’
The European University Institute held on 13 December 2012 in Florence a conference on ‘Freedom and Independence in the Italian Media System’. The aim of the event was to present the findings of the MEDIADEM project as regards the Italian case study and to foster national debate on a set of issues identified as crucial for the promotion of media freedom and independence in the country.
The first part of the workshop started with the presentation by Federica Casarosa (partner 14, EUI) which focused on the main research findings concerning media freedom and independence in the country. The observations advanced were then used as basis for the set of recommendations provided, which focused on: increasing role for civil society in terms of transparency and participation; more clarity of the legal framework which affects the strategic choices of media companies, in particular as regards the criteria that qualify the positions that are “prejudicial to pluralism” within competition policy; finally, improved solutions for new media challenges, in particular regarding the balance between the opposite positions in the distribution of content online, as well as the extension of guaranteed for professional journalists. The following presentation by Elda Brogi (Centre for Media pluralism and media freedom) emphasised the different types of dialogue that occur between European and Italian national actors and how these processes affect and steer the media policy choices.
Giovanni Melogli, co-initiator of the European Citizens’ Initiative on Media Pluralism, offered the view of the civil society organisations that, in a Europe-wide coordinated effort, are currently trying to provide the substantive number of signatures to present a “Citizen initiative Proposal” focusing in particular on media pluralism issues. The presentation emphasised the importance of this initiative also to reinforce the role of European demos vis-à-vis European bodies. Although no specific rules are to be presented in the proposal the initiative is also a symptom of the shared need perceived in different European countries regarding the importance to intervene in the debate on the media pluralism/freedom issues. The presentation by Mario Tedeschini-Lalli, deputy director for innovation and development at Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso, offered a double perspective, that of the researcher and the practitioner on the issue of media freedom and independence in journalistic activity in Italy, focusing on the existing system of self-regulation which relies on the journalists association (Ordine dei giornalisti) and its flaws.
Unfortunately, due to different and unforeseen reasons the Roundtable organised in the afternoon did not take place, as most of the participants unable to be present.