Italy: IFJ/EFJ support strike of Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper workers

Il Sole 24 ORE

The International and European Federation of Journalists, (IFJ and EFJ) have backed calls by striking workers at one of Italy's top financial newspapers for the editor to resign. The IFJ joined its affiliate, the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (FNSI), in supporting the stoppage by Il Sole 24 Ore workers which started today. The indefinite strike, backed in a vote on Friday by 90% of union members, is demanding the resignation of the paper’s editor, Roberto Napoletano, following a police raid on the paper's headquarters last Friday and claims senior managers, including Napoletano, issued false statements about the company's position. Reports said that Napoletano and two former top managers are being investigated by Milan prosecutors for allegedly issuing false corporate statements. Another 7 people, including former managers at the company, were also being investigated, some of them over allegations of embezzlement. The FNSI expressed their “utmost solidarity” with colleagues working at Il Sole 24 Ore. “It is necessary that the judges make clear the responsibility in this case but from now it is also fundamental that the current management cut any connection with the previous one in order to safeguard the newspaper and newsroom’s credibility,” the union said. Il Sole workers alleged that Napoletano had a lead role in the deficient editorial management that almost led the company to failure last year. In October, journalists held a no-confidence vote against Napoletano after the group said its first-half loss had widened to 50 million euros from 12 million euros a year before and that it had to assess whether it could continue to operate. Prosecutors are also looking into allegations of false accounting at the group and are investigating whether the newspaper’s digital sales data had been artificially inflated, media added. “Journalists and media houses´ workers shouldn’t pay the ultimate price of the leadership’s deficient management as if journalism and press freedom were simple products they could speculate with without penalty,” said IFJ President, Philippe Leruth. “We strongly stand by our Italian colleagues until Napoletano resigns and those responsible for this crisis within Il Sole face full force of the law.”

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