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Italy. “To appear on TV, politicians have paid”

Emilia Romagna. “To appear on TV, politicians have paid between 100 and 200 thousand euros.”
BOLOGNA – The refunds asked by all the political groups of the Regional Council of Emilia-Romagna for having appeared on television range between one hundred and two hundred thousand euros spread over two to three years. The assessment was made by the Regional Public Prosecutor of the Court of Auditors, Mr. Salvatore Pilato, on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the judicial year, and that the facts are being evaluated for illicit behaviour.

The case came to light in the August of 2012 and has sparked controversy over the costs of politics and the relationship between politicians and the media. In an investigation by the prosecutor on the funds of the IDV group, the former leader Mr. Paolo Nanni, admitted that “it was customary” to be reimbursed for expenses for meetings that never occurred or for non-existent brochures of non-existent events in order to cover electoral dinners as well as paid appearances on local televisions. Some councillors admitted to have paid up to 1,200 Euros for a single interview and for television appearances. And some broadcasters, Mr. Nanni also said, “did not consider appropriate to insert in their balance sheet the bills paid by politicians in order to be on TV.”

On top of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Court of Auditors, the case is being examined by the Corecom, the regional committee for communications and body of the Legislative Assembly, and by the Council of the Order of Journalists of Emilia-Romagna by opening disciplinary proceedings against four members: Mr. Giovanni Mazzoni, editor in chief of ETV; Mr. Luigi Ferretti, director of 7 Gold TV; Mr. Fausto Fagnoni of Teleromagna; and Mr. Dalio Pattaccini, a freelance journalist under contract with Gold 7 TV.

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