ROME — RAI president Lucia Annunziata ankled the pubcaster Tuesday after just 14 months to protest what she calls the Silvio Berlusconi-led conservative coalition government’s attempts to take full control of the pubcaster.
Annunziata, a prominent journalist and former Washington correspondent for leftist newspaper La Repubblica, was the only opposition representative on RAI’s politically appointed five-member board.
It is unclear whether this will have a domino effect and trigger a larger management crisis at the mammoth pubcaster, but sources said it’s not likely to do so.
The RAI topper’s resignation is the culmination of constant squabbles between Annunziata and RAI general director Flavio Cattaneo. Their most recent spat was over a slew of top exec appointments to be voted on by RAI’s board.
“The board has become a mere mailbox to which decisions made elsewhere are sent to be ratified,” Annunziata said. “These appointments will completely change RAI’s configuration, make external influence blatantly clear and amount to a de facto elimination of pluralism.”
While details of the appointments are not known, RAI’s reconfiguration is not expected to affect RAI Cinema operatives Giancarlo Leone and Carlo Macchitella, CEO and managing director, respectively, of the pubcaster’s film unit.
Annunziata’s departure follows the Italian parliament’s endorsement last month of controversial media legislation set to radically deregulate the country’s airwaves and to bolster the dominant position of Prime Minister and TV tycoon Berlusconi’s Mediaset.
Also last month, popular RAI anchor Lilli Gruber left the “TG1” newscast, claiming it was tailoring news to favor the government’s party line. Gruber now is a center-left candidate for the European Parliament.