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Journalism and Politics in Transition Italy

Anno XXXI, n. 133, gennaio-febbraio 1996
Centro Einaudi


Testo disponibile solo in lingua inglese.
The oligarchic complexion which Italian journalism has now assumed is, on the one hand, the result of the "closure" and relative lack of competitiveness of big industry, proprietor of the major newspapers, and, on the other, of the "publishing cartel" created in recent years by editors. All of which causes considerable concern for the health of democracy in the country. Far from being inspired by ethical-political principles, the press takes its lead from contingent expediency as the occasion demands. It is, in other words, incapable of performing the dual function of "integrating" and "changing" the existing social order typical of the media in mature liberal democracies. This point is proved by the Italian press’s at once indifferent and demagogic interpretation of the recent waves of corruption scandals. Newspapers have, de facto, fuelled the tendency to attribute to the responsibilities of single politicians what was in actual fact a systemic phenomenon. The most significant consequences of this situation may be summed up in six points: the pitiably low level of national political culture; the low demand for modernisation; the low capacity of citizens to articulate and aggregate their interests; the slowness of political decision-making processes and their scarce openness; the obscurity of the financial market and the slack safeguarding of investors’ interests; inadequate control of the running of the public administration and insufficient protection of citizens’ rights.