The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists, today expressed its solidarity with staff and unions of Italian TV Channel La7 who are facing an unprecedented wave of lay-offs. The EFJ called on Italian lawmakers to condemn the cutbacks which will affect more than a quarter of the workforce.
"We urge the Italian Parliament, which on Wednesday will discuss Italian labour law and the precarious state of journalistic work, to focus attention on La 7 where the massive lay offs pose a serious threat to media pluralism and quality in Italy," said EFJ President Arne König. "This network, which is Italy's third largest, is the only private alternative at national level to Mediaset owned by Prime Minister Berlusconi and the public broadcaster RAI, which is still highly politicised."
In September, the owner of La7, Telecom Italia Media, announced its intention to fire 25 journalists of its 88-person news department staff. It is the first time in Italy that a national broadcaster would dismiss such a number of fully employed journalists at a single stroke.
For this reason several members from both the parliamentary majority and the opposition have asked to put the issue on the agenda of the Italian Chamber of Members of the Italian Parliament, and to discuss the serious attacks on labour law within the group Telecom Italia in connection with a possible reform of precarious work and labour law 223 of 1991.
They also formally asked the Labour Minister Maurizio Sacconi to give the official position of Mr Berlusconi's Government on the issue.
La7 (known as "The Seven") is owned by the former national telecom operator, Telecom Italia, and has been considered the most impartial and independent channel in the highly politicised landscape of Italian television.
The EFJ in cooperation with its Italian affiliate, the Federation of Italian Journalists (Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana), is urging Parliament to consider also the alarming increase of precarious work in Italian journalism. This, they say, is having a serious impact in the quality and credibility of journalism. Alongside this concern is also the urgent need for a new collective agreement for journalists.
For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235 2200/02
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in more than 30 countries