Today the International Federation of Journalists supported the strike of journalists at Italian public broadcaster RAI.

Following the call of the union USIGRAI, journalists ask for a better and “credible” governing body for RAI. The Executive Committee of the IFJ, meeting in Rome on 4-5 June 2005 and gathering over 20 journalists’ leaders from across the world, backed the concerns of the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (FNSI) and of the USIGRAI over the future of RAI, in the context of political interference and plans of privatisation.

“The IFJ is worried about the current political manoeuvres around RAI”, said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “Public broadcasting needs to be independent and be able to produce quality programmes. Instead, political interference and privatisation would lead to vested interests and more pressure on journalists”.

During a conference on public broadcasting organised by the FNSI and the IFJ at the Campidoglio on 3 June, speakers from Great-Britain and from Spain presented the latest developments in their own country. The BBC, considered as a model across Europe, is going through as deep crisis with threats to cut nearly 4000 jobs. In Spain, the government set-up a Committee to reform the whole public broadcasting system to provide more independence.

“Examples in Europe prove that it is the shared responsibility of governments, management and journalists to ensure good conditions for public service values in the media as well as good working conditions”, said Aidan White. “Journalists of RAI are rightly defending these principles. We hope that the legal framework considered for RAI will guarantee the independence of its journalists”.

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The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 110 countries across the world