The demonstration was initiated by the Democratic Party under the leadership of Elly Schlein, with the presence of trade unions including Rete Nobavaglio, Articolo 21, and Moveon. Over 200 people gathered under the Rai headquarters in Viale Mazzini on Wednesday evening. Their objective was to defend the freedom of information and to draw attention to what they perceive as a democratic emergency. They argue that all of politics bear responsibility for this critical situation. The protesters’ message was clear: the need to fight for public service and press freedom. Schlein also expressed her gratitude to the associations and other opposition forces present, calling for an end to Tele Meloni and the misuse of public service as a platform for the current government.
Sandro Ruotolo, former senator and close ally of the new Democratic Party secretary, clarified that this demonstration was just the beginning and was intended to shed light on the issue. He referred to the situation as ‘Tele Meloni’, claiming that positions that should have been occupied were taken and opposition was eliminated. Ruotolo also expressed concern over the loss of credibility and authority of Tg1, as well as Meloni’s attack on writer Roberto Saviano and the Report programme. Despite this, the Democratic Party’s information manager assures there is willingness to discuss a reform that would make RAI independent of political parties, though he expressed regret over the absence of Giuseppe Conte and the 5 Stars who, he feels, fail to comprehend the gravity of the situation.
Other individuals present included Nicola Fratoianni, deputy of the Italian Left, Angelo Bonelli of the Greens, Maria Elena Boschi of Italia Viva, and Report journalist Sigfrido Ranucci. Ranucci emphasized the importance of press freedom and expressed hope that the unions and all those present at Rai would support in defending against attacks from the center-right. He also added that without reform, there would be no progress and that the only publisher should be the one who pays the license fee.
Beppe Giulietti, coordinator of Articolo 21, stated that it’s necessary to go wherever there’s a risk of gagging and expressed concerns about the risk to the country’s constitution. He also highlighted that Meloni has lodged the most gag complaints against writers and journalists. Giulietti warned that the situation at Rai is unprecedented and alarming. The sit-in ended with the crowd singing “Bella Ciao”. Shortly before, a counter-demonstration was held by journalists associated with UniRai. Francesco Palese, leader of the Unirai union, explained that they represent journalists who do not feel represented by the historic union. They believe that Rai belongs to those who pay the license fee, irrespective of political affiliation. Both demonstrations took place under the vigilant eyes of the police.