RAI raises political ire again in Italy

Problems stem from Fabiani's appointment

Political influence at RAI is again wreaking havoc in Italy where Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s center-left bloc Thursday beat by a single vote an opposition move to oust its appointee from the pubcaster.

The bone of contention is RAI board member Fabiano Fabiani, a former head of TV producers’ org. APT.

Fabiani, 77, a onetime RAI and Cinecitta exec, this month replaced Angelo Maria Petroni, appointed when Silvio Berlusconi was prime minister and fired by Prodi.

Sparks flew during a heated debate in the Rome Senate — where Prodi has a razor-thin majority — but he managed to carry the day.

However, a motion temporarily freezing all RAI exec appointments was passed with an overwhelming 295-8 majority, signaling that turbulence over the now-crippled pubcaster is far from over.

“The real ailment that RAI has always suffered from is its rapport with political power, which weakens its public service role, its cultural vitality, and its ability to operate in the market,” lamented Economy Minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa.

A reform aiming to restructure RAI’s Byzantine corporate governance and extricate it from parliament’s clutches is on the agenda, but Prodi is considered to weak to push it through.

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