This article addresses the way in which the Italian mainstream media covered a policy proposal advanced in late 2003 by Gianfranco Fini, who was then Vice Prime Minister of a center-right government led by Silvio Berlusconi. During a conference on European immigration policy held at the Italian National Council of the Economy and Work (CNEL), a public institute that provides consulting to the Government and Parliament, Fini said that legal immigrants should be given the right to vote in local elections, a policy apparently inconsistent with the center-right coalition’s alleged hard-line stance on immigration. The statement spurred a bitter controversy, which lasted for about a month. Although eventually no legislative overhaul occurred, Fini’s proposal could have significantly changed the dynamics of the country’s public discourse if it had been taken as a starting point to debate crucial substantive issues such as globalization, national identity, the coexistence of different ethnicities and cultures, and long-term immigration policies. With a little help from politicians, the media could have provided a crucial contribution to such a debate. This study, however, shows that, quite to the contrary, journalists and politicians, bound by the collusive relationship that is typical of the Italian system, turned the debate on Fini’s proposal into a matter of political posturing, and thus missed an opportunity for a substantive public policy discussion that is long overdue in Italian society.

Missed Opportunities: The Debate on Immigrants’ Voting Rights in Italian Newspapers and Television

VACCARI, CRISTIAN
2010

Abstract

This article addresses the way in which the Italian mainstream media covered a policy proposal advanced in late 2003 by Gianfranco Fini, who was then Vice Prime Minister of a center-right government led by Silvio Berlusconi. During a conference on European immigration policy held at the Italian National Council of the Economy and Work (CNEL), a public institute that provides consulting to the Government and Parliament, Fini said that legal immigrants should be given the right to vote in local elections, a policy apparently inconsistent with the center-right coalition’s alleged hard-line stance on immigration. The statement spurred a bitter controversy, which lasted for about a month. Although eventually no legislative overhaul occurred, Fini’s proposal could have significantly changed the dynamics of the country’s public discourse if it had been taken as a starting point to debate crucial substantive issues such as globalization, national identity, the coexistence of different ethnicities and cultures, and long-term immigration policies. With a little help from politicians, the media could have provided a crucial contribution to such a debate. This study, however, shows that, quite to the contrary, journalists and politicians, bound by the collusive relationship that is typical of the Italian system, turned the debate on Fini’s proposal into a matter of political posturing, and thus missed an opportunity for a substantive public policy discussion that is long overdue in Italian society.
Beyond Monopoly: Globalization and Contemporary Italian Media
203
224
C. Vaccari
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/85375
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