Agcom's decision: TI Media announces immediate appeal

01/24/2013 - 04:00 PM

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Incoherent and contradictory grounds

Private News Programme banned from exercising its constitutional rights to provide information    

Telecom Italia Media, the publisher of La7 and MTV, has announced its intention to immediately appeal Agcom’s decision to fine the company, with a motion for suspension of the fine on the grounds that related order was unconstitutional, incoherent and contradictory.

Agcom’s order, in fact, requires television news programmes to follow “mathematical” rules of political communication, in order to compel the news programme TGLa7 to focus its news stories on political parties and candidates that have grouped together to present joint lists or formed coalitions with parties and candidates found to have been unduly accorded disproportionately large segments of air time. As a result, political groupings, parties and candidates have been found to have been granted both too much and too little exposure on air, at the same time.

This entails the imposition of an unlawful restraint on the rights of the broadcasters La7 and MTV to freely report the news in a fulsome and accurate manner. Moreover, the incoherent data on which the fine is based, as well as the requirement to restore balance, are sufficient, in themselves, to show that the broadcasters in question have always been respectful of pluralism in reporting the news, and have consistently worked towards ensuring fair access to the airwaves to all political players.

TI Media is firmly convinced that the Regulator wrongfully construed Italian laws on par condicio, with negative repercussions in terms of press freedom and the rights of publishers to base their editorial choices on what they consider newsworthy.

The broadcasters of the TI Media Group already ensure fair and balanced exposure on air to all the various political groupings, in line with their journalistic calling, as amply evidenced through their programming which, over the course of the day, offers far more news content and information than other generic broadcasting networks.

Furthermore, additional confirmation of this strategy is to be found in the fact that TI Media is particularly committed to using the most innovative tools that characterise the current electoral campaign. Two specific initiatives were launched in this direction, just a few days ago: the first, La7’s “Google 2013 Elections” is aimed at promoting online political debate via an online platform open to the public at large, whilst the second, MTV’s “IOVOTO” is targeted at youth, with the goal of getting young people more actively involved in politics.

 

Rome, 24 January 2013