Italians protest media consolidation in style

April 25, 2008

grillo.jpgWhen Rupert Murdoch is poised to add another newspaper to his bulging portfolio of media properties, U.S. legislators voice their concern. In Italy, where prime minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi is poised to regain his hammer grip on the country’s airwaves, it’s time for V-Day.

The V in V-Day — sensitive readers who know Italian, shield your eyes — stands for “Vaffanculo,” which roughly translates to “F&$@ off.” The event was created by comedian/activist/blogger Beppe Grillo (left), aptly described by the New Yorker as “a distinctly Italian combination of Michael Moore and Stephen Colbert.”

In a rant before a crowd of 45,000 that lambasted politicians of all leanings, Grillo said on Friday that Berlusconi’s dominance of the media would be unthinkable in other countries. Critics say Berlusconi as prime minister — through his family-controlled Mediaset empire and through state television RAI — will at least indirectly control nearly 90 percent of Italy’s television audience.

“Imagine if (Barack) Obama as president was also the owner of Fox, of ABC and other TV networks,” he said. It was the second “V-day” for Grillo, who first launched the protest last September when he gathered petitions that sought to clean up politics.

He reiterated calls to bar convicts from entering public office, and read the names out loud of a handful convicted criminals who were elected to parliament. After each name, the crowd thundered back “Vaffanculo!”

(Reporting by Phil Stewart)

4 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Here in Italy the situation of all the media is really bad. An example? Yesterday the V2-Day recalled hundreds of thousands of people in all cities of Italy, but NO TELEVISION REPORTED THE EVENT.
It was put in streaming only on Internet, through I want to add that during the event the free-calling phone number of Ecotv was deactivated with no reasons by Telecom Italia.

We live in an absurd situation. Please help us!

Posted by Gianni Rozzano | Report as abusive

Here in Italy the press freedom doesn’t exist, just Berlusconi’s tv and newspapers are in charge. We live in an incredible country, we’re sad about it. I think we’re as in China…I’m not jocking! If you think that the new senate will have as guest Cuffaro (ex-president of Sicily, convicted at 5 years for mafia!!!), and many other convicted (70 !!), and the people believe that they’re a good politicians.. The press in Italy is no free because the politicians. Please help us to let know the situation in all the world!!

Posted by Franco | Report as abusive

I’ve left Italy 15 years ago and I’ve never looked back. I had enough of the corruption at all levels of government, people selling themselves off in order to get a job, a pension, a license to operate a business or to avoid having their sons serve in the army. I grew up on a little town on the adriatic coast, amongst all my pears, my brother and I were only the few that actually had to serve 1 year in the army. I was sent in Sardinia, my brother in Sicily. For the others kids in the block, some paid enough not to serve at all, others paid enough to serve near their town of residence. Listening to Grillo makes my blood rush again, and makes me want to join him in his fight against this cancer of the Italian political estabilishment. Makes me want to go back and scream with him at everything rotten that there is in the country, and fight the mentality of an Italians class that prefers and regards corruption as a normal way of life, even better, as a smart way of living. But then I wake up and realize I’m must be dreaming. What was I thinking? I said Vaffanculo 15 years ago when I left, and here I am…Vaffanculo once again! For those Italians that work hard and would never kiss anyone aXX, I’m sad to say, but your only option is to move to another country. Good luck!

Posted by Mike S. | Report as abusive

Grillo is not left nor right.
You should retreive right information before to post the opposite of the truth.

Posted by DV | Report as abusive

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