Archive for April 2002

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[eccr] Threats to editorial freedom in Europe

Tue Apr 23 21:14:37 GMT 2002

Threats to editorial freedom in Europe
Developments in France and Italy, where major public and private
broadcasting networks are facing struggles over editorial independence,
highlight a growing crisis for broadcast journalists. "Business and
political interests are squeezing the lifeblood out of independent
journalism," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the International
Federation of Journalists and its regional group, European Federation of
Journalists, "and European political leaders must recognize their
responsibility to protect journalism from undue interference."

In Italy, last week, new directors were appointed to the public service
channels of RAI, and this new management structure means that Silvio
Berlusconi, Italian Prime Minister and a media magnate in his own right,
and his political allies will control five of the country's six
broadcasting networks.

At the same time a conflict broke out in France over the future of Canal
Plus. The pay television station that created the biting satirical
programme "Les Guignols" has raised concerns about corporate influence
in editorial matters. Under the pressure of Jean-Marie Messier, head of
global media corporation Vivendi Universal, the network's Chairman
Pierre Lescure was dismissed. Financial imperatives have clearly taken
over professionalism and independence.

Similarly, there are also serious threats to editorial independence in
Catalonia. The recent changes in management at TV3 and Catalunya Radio
and the attempts of the ruling nationalist party to interfere in news
making hint at similar problems we see in France and Italy.

Source: - IFEX Communique

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