Five Star Movement Proposes Stripping Mainstream Media’s Public Funding

ROME - MARCH 6 : A newsstand at Navona Square is shown March 6, 2003 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The Italian anti-establishment Five Star Movement have set their sights on the mainstream media, proposing to cut public funding to various outlets and create a new Netflix-like subscription service to give Italians access to all newspapers.

The proposal is being championed by Five Star Movement politician Vito Crimi, who specifically targetted former Italian prime minister and media baron Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the Forza Italia party, declaring that “for Silvio Berlusconi, the easy ride is over,” Il Giornale reports.

“We are not against the newspapers,” Crimi said, adding: “we only want to remove public funds for publishing, not to eliminate the fund for pluralism.”

According to Crimi, Italian publishers have received as much as three billion euros from the taxpayer since 2003, and he claims they have done little in return for it.

While removing public funding may cost newspapers across the country, Crimi said he was also interested in putting a cap on television advertising, in the hope that advertising money would be redistributed among television and print media.

Italian Minister of Economic Development and M5S leader Luigi Di Maio also attacked the mainstream media this week, saying he gets all of his news online through social media and adding that comments on his Facebook and Instagram pages “are worth much more than all the editorials of the day.”

“To inform myself, I do not read Italian newspapers, they only propagandise. I read specialised articles, foreign newspapers, bloggers, dossiers to inform myself about the problems related to my activity as a minister,” Di Maio said.

“Once, the newspapers were a cross-section of public opinion, they had a bit of the popular feeling that was breathed in the streets and bars. This component has been lost and it is for this reason that they lose sales,” he added.

Trust in the mainstream media and the “system” in general has declined in Italy in recent years, with polling data from this year revealing that only 45 percent trusted the mainstream media.

The figures have been similar in other countries like Sweden where a survey in 2016 found that that up to half of respondents avoided mainstream media entirely and got their news from alternative news outlets online.

Sweden’s leftist government has taken the opposite approach to the Five Star Movement, however, having created a multi-million kronor fund to give to mainstream outlets to fight “fake news.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)




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