The Lombard League – a breakaway political party which advocates Lombardy’s secession from southern Italy – may get its own daily national newscast.

Once considered a fringe group with radical racist policies, the League has become Italy’s fourth-largest political party, appealing to 20% of voters in the nation’s affluent northwest with its provocative policies directed against poorer southern Italians and immigrants.

Rete A, a private national web based in Milan, the capital of Lombardy province and headquarters of the League, has joined the political storm by offering the group airtime.

While political influence of the news is more the rule than the exception in Italy, politicians have generally exercised a certain decorum in avoiding the broadcast of overt propaganda, especially that of the racist and divisive League, which is viewed as an electoral threat by all three major political parties.

Medieval

Indeed, many Italians find the League’s insistence that the wealthy northern provinces become separate from their “inferior” southern counterparts dangerously anachronistic and medieval.

An exec at Rete A downplayed the project, saying “we offered this airtime to a lot of different groups and nothing’s been decided yet. But the League is already saying we’re giving them a newscast. They’re blowing things out of proportion.”

If the project goes through, the Rete A newscast will be another benchmark in the continuing expansion of the League, a political force led by Senator Umberto Bossi that has successfully tapped northern Italy’s deep discontent with the country’s unusually inefficient, often corrupt, and maddeningly over-centralized government.

Bossi’s solution to solving the country’s problems is akin to a doctor trying to cure cancer by chopping off a patient’s limbs. But the League is growing, and politicians from mainstream Christian Democratic, Socialist and Communist parties are now worried that its strength may increase dramatically in the next round of elections.

The League’s 15-minute news show would be aired daily, anchored by Massimo Colombo, a journalist who is a regional council member for the League. Colombo told an Italian paper that the airtime and equipment is being provided by Rete A owner Alberto Peruzzo free of charge.

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