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Matteo Salvini. Screenshot from RAI

Salvini denounces public broadcaster’s ‘Russiagate’ bias

Italian public broadcaster RAI's board on Wednesday met to discuss their investigative report this week on alleged links between Matteo Salvini's League party and Russian funding, sources said.

Published: October 24, 2019, 8:53 am

    Rome

    Board members Igor De Biasio and Gianpaolo Rossi, who were nominated by the League and the conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI) party respectively, accused the Report show of breaching electoral rules ahead of this weekend’s regional government vote in Umbria.

    This argument was rejected by Rita Borioni, who was nominated by the leftist Democratic Party (PD), and Riccardo Laganà, representing employees, who said the show was simply exercising “freedom of expression” to report the news.

    PD leader Nicola Zingaretti said no one should censor Report and that “freedom of expression must be defended in the public broadcaster”. Former Salvini spokesman Gianluca Savoini is under investigation in relation to allegations he discussed taking funding via oil kickbacks from Russia at an October meeting at Moscow’s Metropol hotel.

    Italian newsweekly L’Espresso and US news site Buzzfeed reported that Savoini and two other Italians met three Russians in the Moscow hotel to discuss siphoning off an alleged 65 million dollars from oil profits.

    As reported by Italian daily la Repubblica , the RAI board of directors, meeting in Rome, are split. The directors De Biasio and Rossi attacked the programme led by Sigfrido Ranucci, accusing him of having violated the rules of equal treatment.

    Particularly harsh was De Biasio, who criticized the content of the Monday broadcast of Report, which focused on the meeting between Salvini and Konstantin Malofeev , the Russian oligarch who is said to have acted as intermediary in the negotiations between the Rome and Moscow.

    “I met him, I meet hundreds of people who have never given me a penny. When I meet people I do not usually ask for money ,” was Salvini’s reply. He called “inquiry” by the RAI3 programme “surreal” and added: “I’m waiting for it to end and then someone will apologize to me.”

    The former Minister of the Interior enjoys renewed strength, especially in light of the success of Saturday’s demonstration in Rome, but above all when compared to other parties.

    According to a Swg survey, the League is at 34 percent (+ 0,8 percent compared to a week ago), while Fratelli d’italia has risen from 7,6 percent to 8,4 percent and Forza Italia stands at 5,5 percent.

    “Salvini is always focusing on security and immigration, but he is also rewarded by his positioning on taxes,” explained Rado Fonda, the director of the survey company. He told Italia Oggi that the figure is almost in line with that of the European elections (34,3 percent).

    The two main governing parties on the other hand are struggling: the Democratic Party is at 18,8 percent (22,7 percent is the figure for the European elections), while the M5S has fallen from 18,6 percent a week ago to 17,8 percent.

    “Both are suffering from internal government conflicts that convey an image of litigiousness that is associated with inconclusiveness,” says Roda.

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    • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

      It seems that the lying press in Italy is trying to imitate the same yellow journalism that is prevalent in America these days. What works against Trump, they reason, will work against Salvini. Even though, in both cases, there is no wrongdoing despite all the hype. In Europe, even more so than in the US, the press is part of the continent’s political class, and serves its masters in Brussels and Berlin as loyal lackeys. Most Italians still support Salvini and his allies, so the main impact of this press campaign will be to keep the Italian left stirred up. It’s doubtful that this story even has much purchase with M5S members or voters.

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