Hungarian Government statement

There are many European countries where broadcast production is centralized . . . Italy: RAI."

country experts

Marco Bellezza (PhD) is an expert in European media law, internet law and intellectual property law. He graduated cum laude at the Faculty of Law of University of Bari 'Aldo Moro' in 2005, and holds a PhD in private law from the University of Bari. In addition to his academic work, he has been a practicing attorney in media and communications law at a national law firm in Italy since 2009. He is member of the editorial board of the journal and president of the Apulian Centre for Intellectual Property, a research center associated with the University of Bari. He recently completed a study on the implementation of EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive at the Institute of European and Comparative Law at the University of Oxford.

Oreste Pollicino (PhD) is an associate professor of comparative public law in the Department of Law at Bocconi University in Milan. His research areas include European and comparative constitutional Law, media law, and Internet law. He is the editor of International Journal of Communications Law and Policy, and a member of the editorial board of Diritto Pubblico comparato ed europeo, Panoctica, Revista Eletrônica Acadêmica de Direito, and


Expert assessment: appointing directors of public media

Italy's public service broadcaster, RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana), is indeed somewhat "centralised," as this statement correctly notes, although far less so than in decades past.95 In fact the effort to decentralize RAI has been at the heart of a series of often contentious policy reforms aimed at reducing the Government's long-standing control over the network from RAI's headquarters in Rome. A wave of reforms since the 1990s has sought to strengthen regional production centers and restructure RAI's internal management in order to facilitate the decentralisation process. RAI's regionally decentralised production structure is currently detailed in several areas of Italian law, and recent legislative trends and agreements point to a further strengthening of local production centres.

As noted, the initial effort to decentralise RAI in the late 1990s was part of an attempt by lawmakers to reform the system (the system of "lottizzazione") governing the public service media, which was prone to extensive political interference. The system of lottizzazione stemmed from the 1975 Broadcasting Act, which carved up the RAI into two separate network directorates for each political "camp," one for Catholics and the other for lay culture.96 The decentralising effort has also been fueled by the need break up the so-called RAI/Mediaset "duopoly," in which two main networks dominate Italy's broadcasting market: the RAI and Mediaset, the private network owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Since the 1990s, several laws and service agreements have included provisions aimed at decentralizing RAI, including the 2005 Consolidated Act on Radio and Television,97 and current service contract between RAI and the Ministry of Economic Development for 2010-2012.98 This contract specifies the need "to ensure the conditions for the protection of regional linguistic minorities in their areas," to be achieved by strengthening RAI's local production centres. 99

As indicated above, RAI has four production centers—in Turin, Milan, Rome and Naples. While these production centers are coordinated by a production office in Rome, each regional center is given a large measure of editorial autonomy over news production and programming. Only multimedia content for online use, pursuant to Article 11 of the prevailing service contract, is produced centrally.100 Within the Italian public service media system, there is no single editorial "team" responsible for news gathering, media production and distribution to all public service outlets. RAI is structured into six areas, with separate internal structures for television, radio and new media. The individual areas are responsible for devising and implementing the programs on TV, radio, satellite and digital frequencies and online media. Within the area of television, eight different editorial staffs are responsible for different news broadcasts and programs on different channels. Each team has its own editorial staff director and at least four deputy directors, who together determine the RAI's editorial policies.

However, RAI's general production and programming structure are determined jointly by the board of directors, the general director and the heads of the several editorial staffs.101 Because both the board of directors and general director are appointed by the Government, editorial content often reflects the political ideologies of the current party in power. The Government's role in appointing RAI directors raised serious conflict-of-interest questions when Berlusconi, owner of RAI competitor Mediaset, was elected as prime minister (in 1994, 2001, and 2008). Hence, while there have been considerable concerns regarding RAI's centralisation, much of this can be traced to the larger problem of RAI appointments and its resulting political influence over the newsrooms of Italy's public media.

94 See "Criticism 8" in "Criticisms and answers formulated on the subject of the proposed media act examined in a European context," Ministry of Public Administration and Justice, December 20, 2010, available at:
95 See RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana) at:
96 For a summary of Italy's public broadcasting sector, see: Matthew Hibberd, "Public service broadcasting in post-war Italy," Matthew Hibberd in: Media, Culture & Society © 2001 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi), (Vol. 23: 233–252): 234.
97 Law-Decree no. 177 of 31 July 2005, Consolidated text on radio and television (Decreto Legislativo 31 luglio 2005, available in Italian at:
98 Contract of service between the Ministry of Communication and RAI (Contratto di servizio tra il Ministero delle comunicazioni e la RAI – Radiotelevisione Italiana S.p.A.), available in Italian at:
99 Contract of service between the Ministry of Communication and RAI (Contratto di servizio tra il Ministero delle comunicazioni e la RAI – Radiotelevisione Italiana S.p.A.), available in Italian at:
100 Article 11, Paragraph 1 of "Multimedia offer" provides for the centralized production of multimedia content: "RAI is committed to enhance and upgrade the service on its websites in order to extend, even developing and producing ad hoc content, the current production of content customized for the Internet. The company is also committed to increasing visibility in the supply of specific content, with particular reference to audiovisual."
101 See RAI's structure, in Italian at: