We have urged support for media and journalists. Increasingly, the press has been recognized as a public good and an essential service. All italian media - newspapers, tv, websites - are demonstrating how vital good and accurate information is for people during such a period. People want to know what's happening and what to do and only professional media can tell them the truth.
Obviously, it is not easy. All publishing companies are suffering from a lack of advertising income. Lots of colleagues, especially freelancers, need economic support. The government has introduced a special tax relief for media advertising.
FNSI has secured via the government a one-off bonus of 600 euros which will be awarded to all precariously employed and freelance journalists with an annual income of less than 35,000 euros. The same bonus is also available to those with an income between 35,000 and 50,000 euros: they must however have suffered a loss of income compared to 2019. Both a bonus of 500 euros and credit support is provided for those with incomes between 2,800 and 28,000 euros.
Inpgi - the National pension institute of italian journalists - has also allocated 42 million euros to support precarious and freelance journalists.
We are also speaking with the government about the next economic measures expected in April. We have sought new support for media - especially for those are suffering from the contraction in advertising expenditure - and journalists. Some companies are going to declare a state of crisis and propose layoffs for journalists. For us it is unacceptable and that is why we are demanding government intervention. We are at war against an invisible enemy and as in any war, information is essential.
Italian journalists are working tirelessly. Many of them are engaged in areas where Covid-19 is most prevalent. Some of them have been infected, others are in quarantine. In recent days, a journalist and video maker, Paolo Micai, died in Genoa. Raffaele Masto, a colleague from Radio Popolare, died in Milan.
We continue to believe that information is essential for democracy and should be supported as a public good in Italy, in Europe and in the world.
We stand with all our colleagues who, even in these difficult days, all over the world, are continuing to do their crucial work. We believe, like Eduardo De Filippo, a great Neapolitan playwright of the 20th Century, that "a da passà a nuttata", that is "the night will pass".
by Raffaele Lorusso
FNSI General Secretary