UN expert urges Italian government to democratize media

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Frank La Rue

The United Nations independent expert on the right to freedom of opinion and expression has urged the Italian government to democratize the media.

Speaking at the end of a seven day visit to Italy, Frank La Rue said this could be done by allocating the concession of broadcasting frequencies in a fair manner.

He also called for ensuring that the election of board members of the regulatory body is conducted in a transparent manner.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression called for the overhaul of the law governing the radio-television normative system, especially the anti-trust provisions.

He said this would allow Italy to overcome what he called "the excessive concentration of media and the possible establishment of monopolies, which limits diversity and plurality of freedom of expression."

The expert also stressed the need to completely decriminalize defamation and transform it "from a criminal to a civil action" to remove any "intimidating effect" on journalists.

During his official visit to Italy, Mr. La Rue met with Italian authorities and participated in an event on the physical and legal protection of journalists hosted by the President of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

He will present his findings and recommendations in a report to the Human Rights Council in June next year.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1’37″

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