Antonio Scurati

Author Scurati accuses Rai of censorship over 25th April monologue


Renowned author Antonio Scurati has accused Rai of censorship following the eleventh hour halt of his antifascist monologue from being aired. He described it as the “definitive demonstration” of alleged governmental influence over the state broadcaster.

Antonio Scurati was set to deliver the monologue commemorating 25th April national holiday, which honours Italy’s liberation from fascism, on the Rai 3 talkshow Chesarà. However, as he prepared to travel to Rome, Rai informed him his appearance was cancelled “for editorial reasons.”

Scurati, known for his works on Mussolini and the fascist era, expressed his outrage, stating, “Undoubtedly, this is what infuriated them,” referring to his critique of post-fascist leaders and the continuity between past fascism and present populist nationalism.

Rai director Paolo Corsini denied censorship, citing an ongoing investigation of “economic and contractual nature,” while suggesting the cancellation was due to Scurati’s fee. However, Scurati countered that his fee had been agreed upon and contracted beforehand.

In solidarity, Serena Bortone, host of Chesarà, read out Scurati’s monologue on the show, which was subsequently published by various Italian media outlets.

Meloni’s reaction

Giorgia Meloni, whose party has neo-fascist roots, assumed power in 2022. Scurati accused her of perpetuating neo-fascist ideology, prompting Meloni to publish his speech on Facebook.

In her post, Meloni said, “In an Italy full of problems, even today the left is building a case. This time it is for an alleged censorship of a monologue by Scurati to celebrate April 25th.

“The left shouts at the regime, Rai replies that it has simply refused to pay 1800 euros (the monthly salary of many employees) for a minute of monologue.

“I don’t know what the truth is, but I will happily publish the text of the monologue (which I hope not to have to pay for) for two reasons:

1) Because those who have always been ostracized and censored by the public service will never ask for anyone to be censored. Not even those who think that their propaganda against the government should be paid for with citizens’ money.

2) So that Italians can freely judge its content.”

Giorgia Meloni's Facebook post regarding Scurati's claim of Rai censorship.

The incident sparked concerns over governmental interference in Rai, with accusations of silencing dissenting voices and manipulating the press. The European Commission was urged to investigate the government’s influence over Rai.

Meloni’s government faces accusations of attempting to sway various sectors of the media and pursuing legal action against journalists who criticise its policies. A member of the Brothers of Italy (FdI) party has proposed stricter defamation penalties, potentially leading to jail terms of two to three years.

Scurati’s case drew support from fellow authors and journalists, signalling a broader resistance against government censorship. He remarked, “This episode is the definitive demonstration… This government launches violent personal attacks against you for speaking out.”

Scurati’s monologue

Below is a translation of Scurati’s monologue.

“Giacomo Matteotti was murdered by fascist hitmen on 10th June 1924. Five of them waited for him outside his house, all squadristi from Milan, professionals of violence hired by Benito Mussolini’s closest collaborators. The Honourable Matteotti, the secretary of the Socialist Unitary Party, the last person in Parliament who still openly opposed the fascist dictatorship, was kidnapped in the centre of Rome, in broad daylight, in broad daylight. He fought until the end, as he had fought all his life. They stabbed him to death, then disfigured his body. They folded him on himself so they could stick him into a hole dug badly with a blacksmith’s file. Mussolini was immediately informed.

In addition to the crime, he was guilty of the infamy of swearing to the widow that he would do everything possible to bring her husband back to her. While he was sworn in, the fascist Duce kept the victim’s bloody documents in his desk drawer. In this false spring of ours, however, we are not only commemorating Matteotti’s political murder; the Nazi-fascist massacres perpetrated by the German SS, with the complicity and collaboration of the Italian fascists, in 1944 are also commemorated. Fosse Ardeatine, Sant’Anna di Stazzema, Marzabotto. These are just some of the places where Mussolini’s demonic allies massacred thousands of defenceless Italian civilians in cold blood. Among them hundreds of children and even infants. Many were even burned alive, some beheaded.

These two concomitant mournful anniversaries – spring of ’24, spring of ’44 – proclaim that fascism has been throughout its entire historical existence – not only at the end or occasionally – an irredeemable phenomenon of systematic political violence, murder and massacre. Will the heirs of that story recognise him once and for all? Unfortunately, everything suggests that this will not be the case.

The post-fascist ruling group, having won the elections in October 2022, had two paths before it: repudiate its neo-fascist past or try to rewrite history. They undoubtedly took the second path.

After having avoided the topic during the electoral campaign, the Prime Minister, when forced to address it by historical anniversaries, obstinately stuck to the ideological line of her neo-fascist culture of origin: she distanced herself from the indefensible brutalities perpetrated by the regime (the persecution of the Jews) without ever repudiating the fascist experience as a whole, she blamed the massacres carried out with the complicity of the Republican fascists on the Nazis alone, and finally she ignored the fundamental role of the Resistance in the Italian rebirth (to the point of never mentioning the word “anti-fascism” on the occasion of 25th April 2023).

As I speak to you, we are once again on the eve of the anniversary of the Liberation from Nazi-fascism. The word that the Prime Minister refused to pronounce will still throb on the grateful lips of all sincere democrats, be they left, centre or right. Until that word – anti-fascism – is pronounced by those who govern us, the spectre of fascism will continue to haunt the house of Italian democracy.”

Leave a Reply