Press Freedom report - Italy drops 5 places

Press Freedom report – Italy drops five places

Business News

Yesterday was World Press Freedom Day, and Reporters Sans Frontieres released a report on the positions of the world’s country. Italy has dropped five slots to 46th with the case of press agency AGI, set to be sold to League MP and right-wing newspaper proprietor Antonio Angelucci, cited as one of the reasons.

Italy is midway in the rankings topped by Norway and with Eritrea in last place, with RSF voicing concern over businessmen allied to governments taking over media.

It cites the case of AGI, Italy’s second biggest news agency after ANSA and owned for the last 40 years by state controlled oil giant Eni. The agency is set to be sold to Angelucci, owner of conservative dailies Il Giornale, Libero and Il Tempo, effectively by a top member of his own party, League bigwig and Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti.

The RSF report says “an example of some political groups orchestrating the acquisition of the media ecosystem is Giorgia Meloni’s Italy, where a member of her coalition is trying to buy the AGI press agency”.

While Meloni and Giorgetti say it is an anomaly for the State to own a news agency, AGI’s journalists have struck against the proposed Angelucci deal. Italy’s journalists union and liberal politicians have voiced concerns over freedom of the press and conflicts of interest.

Political pressure an issue worldwide

It is not just Italy where this is considered a problem. In general, the report highlights that press freedom around the world is being threatened by the very people who should be its guarantors – political authorities.

This finding is based on the fact that, of the five indicators used to compile the ranking, it is the political indicator that has fallen most, registering a global average fall of 7.6 points.

The report summary states, “The countries where press freedom is “good” are all in Europe, and more specifically within the European Union, which has adopted its first media freedom law (EMFA).” However, there is increased pressure due to upcoming elections:

“In all regions of the world, upcoming elections portend very strong pressure on journalists.”

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