European Journalists Support Demonstration for Freedom of Information in Italy

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the

European group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), today called

for a broad support to Italian journalists, civil society groups and

individuals who will demonstrate in Rome

on Saturday to defend press freedom and freedom of information against

continuous attacks by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

"Enough is enough", said IFJ President Jim Boumelha, who will

also take part to the demonstration. "The condition of journalists and media in

this country has been threatened for years, but the recent use of Mr.

Berlusconi's economic and political power to intimidate journalists and muzzle

the media goes simply beyond any acceptable limits of democracy".

Mr. Berlusconi, himself the owner of the major private

broadcasters in the country, has a long record of threats to press freedom and

independence of the media: dominant position in private television, political

interference in public broadcaster RAI, attempts to criminalise journalists who

use or to refer to telephone tapping and attacks on media or journalists who questioned

the impact of his private life on public affairs.

Recently, Mr. Berlusconi was also the first head of government who took legal action

against various Italian and European media, including Repubblica, L' Unità, El Pais, le Nouvel

Observateur. He claimed millions Euros of damages, alleging "defamatory"

articles on his private life published in the media.

He even criticized the European Commission for interfering in national affairs and threatened

to block the European Council if Commissioners fail to "control" their

spokespersons.

European journalists are proud to be present at this

demonstration gathering over 50,000 people and they fully support the IFJ/EFJ

affiliate, the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (FNSI) in its this

struggle for press freedom and for an ethical and a free journalism.

The demonstration will take

place on 3 October at 3pm on Piazza del Popolo, Rome.

More information in Italian: http://fnsi-libera-informazione.blogspot.com/

Messages of solidarity can be sent to: segreteria.fnsi@fnsi.it

For more information: +32 2 235 22 00

The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in more

than 30 countries of Europe