In the past few days, both flagship newscasts by Italy's state-owned public service RAI, Tg1 and Tg2, have made 'mistakes' in reporting the dates for the four referenda, stating they would be held on June 13 and 14, while they will actually be held on June 12 and 13. Tg1 made this mistake two days ago, but even more incredibly Tg2 repeated that mistake yesterday. How is it possible for both programmes to get it wrong, not least on two different days? Is it also a coincidence that this comes while the Constitutional Court rejects Berlusconi's appeal against holding the referenda in the first place?
In a second symbolic blow to freedom of information in Italy, today Michele Santoro announced he's quitting RAI at the end of this season's series of Annozero. One of the few programmes of investigative journalism left on Italy's public service broadcaster, it is also its most profitable by far. Systematically undermined by attempts to shut it down or deny its staff contracts, the state broadcaster is working in perfect harmony with Berlusconi's repeated wishes to have the programme shut down. The seriousness of attacks on media freedom in Italy cannot be understimated.