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‘Newspapers are polluting the debate’

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio in Rome.

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio in Rome.   | Photo Credit: Tony Gentile

Italy govt. may stop giving ads: Minister

Luigi Di Maio, a key figure in Italy’s populist government, has taken aim at the country’s newspapers, accusing them of “polluting the debate” and threatening to pull advertising by state-owned companies.

“The newspapers... are now polluting the public debate every day and the worst is that they are doing it with public money,” the Deputy Prime Minister wrote on his Facebook page this week.

And he warned that in its next budget, the government was planning “a reduction of indirect state contributions” to the press. “We are preparing a letter to state-owned companies to ask them to stop paying for newspapers” by purchasing advertising space, wrote Mr. Di Maio, who heads the populist Five Star Movement.

Like its founder Beppe Grillo, the anti-establishment party is convinced that the traditional press is trying to undermine its governing alliance with the far-right League of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella rushing to the defence of press freedom. “The unconditional freedom of the press is a cornerstone and fundamental element of democracy,” he said in remarks to Sicilian journalists on Saturday.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 2:12:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/newspapers-are-polluting-the-debate/article24962012.ece

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