TV, censorship and the state of the nation

Earlier this year Italy was finally granted Free Press status after having rather embarrassingly been the only European country to have worn the Partly-Free badge of shame. Be that as it may, Italy still languishes in 61st place below Israel and Cape Verde, according to the Freedom of the Press 2007 ! Surely, there must be some mistake?! Or maybe not...censorship has reared its ugly head again this week in Italy. Daniele Luttazzi, an Italian comic and satirist who had famously been banished from Italian television by Silvio Berlusconi, recently returned to TV screens with a new show - Decameron: Politica, Sesso, Religione & Morte. As its subtitle suggests (for those of you who don't read Italian), the show looked at politics, sex, religion and death. Maybe it was naive of us to have really believed that anybody who openly criticized the Catholic Church, the presence of Italian peacekeepers in Afghanistan (or rather, the War in Afghanistan) and was so wilfully provocative, rude, challenging and intelligent would survive long. In fact, after transmitting 5 episodes including repeats, La7 channel pulled the plug last week with the trumped up excuse of a personal insult Luttazzi made against Giuliano Ferrara, a fellow La7 TV personality.

On Daniele's blog this morning Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo joined the fray in support of Luttazzi and noted that it was probably no coincidence that the show was cancelled just as Luttazzi was preparing an episode about Pope Benedict XVI's latest encyclical letter.

And while I'm on a's an interesting piece about the bigger picture of the state of Italy today from the New York Times:

Published: December 13, 2007
For all of Italy’s outside adoration, the country finds itself in an economic, political and social funk.