Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Viva Zapatero! – Towards a new type of information in Italy?

What is embittering is to listen to RAI journalists' accounts of how entire news items are removed from the schedule a few minutes before airing, entire reports eliminated, replaced with news stories, gossip or weather reports; news reports are broadcast in an order that seems to havenothing to do with journalism, and is aimed at deviating the audience's attention, to channel it to where it would be less 'dangerous'; in addition, continuingin this vein, debates are presented where there is no cross-questioning, where the interviewer mediating the discussion does nothing more than pass the microphone around, without investigating and delving into what is offered to him/her by the politician on show. The Italian journalist, as is critically pointed out by all of Sabina's foreign friends, has
the horrible defect of giving in, of being satisfied with the first answer… a massive clanger this one: the politician, with the first answer, is safe, it is the second question that could catch him/her off guard, and in Italy, this is never asked. An example:

“Are you involved in this corruption trial?”
“Of course I am not!”
“OK, let's move on then…”).

The docu-film is so full of meaning and food for thought that it should be reported stenographically; all the sentences, the gestures, the events are capable of upsetting the spectators and ofshowing them how much they are taken for fools every day, beguiled by media and TV tricks.

Particularly emotional and moving is the intervention by Enzo Biagi, a RAI veteran, nastily fired by means of a registered letter; Biagi's face is upset, tears are brimming in his eyes; Enzo is disappointed by that letter, that to him meant “so that you can't say that you did not receive the notice of dismissal”… Devastating for someone who dedicated his life to journalism, to a real and meaningful one, a journalism one believed in, for which one had fought for.

And then the accounts from Luttazzi, Santoro (“I did everything to come back to work…”), Paolo Rossi, Bebbe Grillo, who collects law suits, without giving up or be frightened.

Sabina, before leaving us to watch the documentary, adds that one more concrete objective is connected with the film: “to make politicians understand that they must do what they are voted in for. The launch of the film is in fact linked to an appeal to the next government, promoted by several personalities from the world of information and culture, in which we request that information is removed from political control, that the Gasparri bill is abolished [Translator's Note: very controversial law on the regulations and principles governing the set-up of the broadcasting system and the RAI-Radiotelevisione italiana S.p.a., authorizing the government to issue a consolidated broadcasting act] and that a new law is voted to eliminate conflict of interests.”.
Such an appeal was drawn up thanks to the cooperation with the VIVA ZAPATERO Association, on whose website the appeal can be found, read and signed, if one wishes to do so.

In the past, man's freedom was lived and conceived in much more conrete and practical terms: it was a physical value, a value for moving around, for conquering your own vital space; Viva Zapatero! is about a concept of mental, spiritual freedom, of liberty to express yourself within the TV, media, information space, which must belong to all of us, a space where everybody should find the opportunity to express themselves.
Sabina Guzzanti intended to demonstrate that in the moment when the system manages to show to us and to make us listen only to what it wants to impose from above, its transformation into a “regime”, in order to oblige us to do what it itself wants, is the direct and inevitable consequence…

George Orwell docet….

*Famously Biagi, Santoro and Lutazzi were cited in 2001 by the newly elected Berlusconi as using the public airwaves criminally. Each had carried pieces on their programmes that criticised Berlusconi and his conflict of interests. Berlusconi's declaration, popularly referred to as the 'Bulgarian Diktat' as it was uttered during a press conference in Sofia, was quickly followed by the sacking of all three by the State broadcaster.
**Italy's Vigilance Commission was set up to ensure that broadcasting is politically balanced.
*** After Berlusconi's first government fell, after just seven months (1994), a left-wing majority government was elected which failed to introduce legislation that would prevent conflict of interests such as Berlusconi's.

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