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'Viva Zapatero' and Italian Censorship
A film about free speech and the state of the Italian media
Verdiana Amorosi (verdiana)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2005-09-16 17:05 (KST)   
The Italian documentary film, "Viva Zapatero! For that Pinch of Liberty that We Still Have," written and directed by Sabina Guzzanti (one of the most censored satirical authors in Italy), was presented at the Venice Film Festival last week.

Guzzanti highlights the problem of censorship in Italy, freedom of expression and the hard life of Italy's satirical authors. The movie, a hard-edged political chronicle, was out of the competition but still received the longest applause of the entire festival.

Guzzanti begins with the story of her satirical TV show, "Raiot" (a pun on RAI, the public television service) and paints a portrait of the state of Italy's mass media.

"Raiot" had to be broadcasted on a public TV channel two years ago, but after the first episode it was suspended without a formal or declared reason. Most likely it was because the program made fun of Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

The second episode wasn't broadcast on TV, but was played in an auditorium in Rome and launched on some local television channels. It was a runaway success.

From that moment, Guzzanti couldn't work in TV, so she started to play her satirical works in the theatre. She has always emphasized the lack of liberty in the Italian press, and in support of her position she interviewed politicians, Italian, British and French satirists, Italian and foreigner journalists, many ordinary people and also manipulators of information, revealed in all their ridiculous manners and attitudes.

It's not the first time that a satirical author has been censored in Italy; the same thing happened several years ago with Dario Fo (the renowned leftist author), Daniele Luttazzi and Paolo Rossi (two famous satirists). The censorship also involved important and prestigious journalists such as Enzo Biagi, Michele Santoro and many others.

"In Italy, all the politicians who get power don't want to hear critics against them. Especially on television," said Sabina Guzzanti during an interview at the Venice Festival, where applause and a standing ovation for her film lasted over 15 minutes. "This is not a documentary against Berlusconi -- she continued -- I don't consider Berlusconi as a genius of hell, because it's obvious that he isn't a genius. It's a film against the rotten system that lets him to do whatever he wants."

In her film, Guzzanti also speaks about the necessity of having a true law about conflict of interest and about the Gasparri law, a law that upholds the interests of the group Mediaset, owned by Silvio Berlusconi, according to Reporters Without Borders.

But this documentary is also a message for future Italian governments, an appeal that asks politicians to do what they promised during the election campaign. Guzzanti chose the title Viva Zapatero to remind all that the Spanish Prime Minister has done what he promised, as all politicians in the world should do.

It's the simplest thing to do, but in Italy it has become a difficult endeavor.
©2005 OhmyNews
Verdiana Amorosi is a student at Università della Tuscia di Viterbo, near Rome. Her interests include journalism and she has just finished her graduation thesis about online newspapers.
Other articles by reporter Verdiana Amorosi

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