Solon nudges RAI back to its roots

Measures call for 60% public service content on b'caster

MILAN — Seizing upon a minor admission of weakness by RAI director general Pierluigi Celli, Italy’s Minister for Culture Giovanna Melandri has called for hard-line measures to redefine the pubcaster. Melandri wants RAI to return to its role as an educational, informative and cultured public TV service, rather than continue to operate as a commercial player.

“We cannot accept that the $1.2 billion given each year to RAI by the Italian state disappears into a mishmash indistinguishable from commercial television. RAI has really reached rock bottom,” she told La Repubblica in an interview this week.

Typically RAI exex reject calls for the broadcaster to return to its public service roots, but Celli recently admitted that some weekend shows are “shameful for a public service broadcaster.”

Honesty helps

“Celli’s admission was positive. Now we can start discussing the future of RAI,” Melandri said.

The minister said pending legislation would include three new measures. First, 60% of RAI programming will be destined for public service, including news, cultural, scientific and sports programs, and programs for the youth and the elderly.

A second measure would force RAI to separate the financial resources earmarked for public service, which will come from the state, from revenues from advertising sales which will be directed to commercial programming. The third new measure would oblige RAI to invest in films part of the money it receives from the Italian state. In the next three years, this investment is due to reach $300 million.

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