According to the NGO Freedom House reports for 2013 my country is considered “free” as stated in the general report with an important difference with the press-related report where is stated “partly free”.
In the general report there is a very important note:
“Italy’s political rights rating declined from 1 to 2 due to continued, widespread grand and petty corruption, especially in the south.” (citation)
This dichotomy can be explained with a few considerations. The press and the media operators are to be considered free when no political or economical pressure can be applied upon them and/or there is no overwhelming concentration of media in the hands of a political party or an economic cartel.
You have to consider that Italy got an aging population and an insufficient level of infrastructures when it comes to net bandwidth; these two factors limit the number of people who have access to the Net. Another important factor to be noted is that a large number of Italians do not read books, not even one a year. That leave the television as the main access point for news and political debate, it’s easy to say that who control the TV get the upper hand in politics.
So the question came to mind: in Italy are we really free?
Is a population free when the news can be altered, ridden or partially represented? What’s the level of knowledge of public affairs and political debate when so many sources are under control of few economical cartels?
In my opinion Freedom House analyst are right. The solution for such a problem is not an easy one. Anti-trust laws in my country are a joke and building more infrastructures is quite difficult given the economic crisis. The answer, once again, is culture. We need to teach to our children to deny any reliability to the current media scene, to study our recent history from scratch in order to understand the present.
It will take a generation to succeed.
Italy’s general report, here.
Italy’s press report, here.