Archive | April 2010

Not giving up without a fight

Readers, universities, associations voice disapproval of funding cuts

By Elena Serra

It’s not just Italian newspapers abroad, but also all Italian communities in the world that have been hit by the aftermath of the Feb. 25 decision by the Italian Senate to make a 50% funding cut to the publishing industry abroad as part of the Milleproroghe decree.
Hard proof is the numerous letters and emails that Corriere Canadese/Tandem receives on a daily basis from associations, agencies, local institutions, and readers. All of them express their support and solidarity in the face of what has been described as a severe provision affecting Italians abroad and goes against all efforts made to this point to safeguard the Italian culture and identity outside national boundaries.
Corriere Canadese/Tandem continues to fight its own battle, and the community too is now entering the fray. First came the full support expressed by Federazione Nazionale della Stampa (national press federation) on occasion of the meeting in Rome with representatives of daily newspapers abroad. Following some initial dialogue, there were reconsiderations and promises on the part of some parliamentarians interviewed the past few weeks by Corriere Canadese/Tandem.
And as of this past week, Pd (Democratic Party) secretary Luigi Bersani also expressed his opinions on the publishing industry, asking for a fair reform, and hoping for government intervention to attain a solution.
“The publishing industry is a problem that has yet to be resolved,” he said. “I encourage [Cabinet Undersecretary] Paolo Bonaiuti to come up with reforms and I’m ready to cooperate to come up with criteria,” he said, emphasizing the importance of “finding a pluralistic mechanism to correct the errors.”
Firm in our convictions, and proud of the support we receive daily, Corriere Canadese/Tandem continues its fight, flanked by other important Italian dailies in the world such as America Oggi, Il Globo e La Fiamma, Gente d’Italia, and Voce d’Italia, (whose funding has all been cut by 50%, along with the 150 periodicals scattered throughout the world), distancing themselves from political barter, and fighting only for the right to information.
With this goal in mind, we faxed hundreds of letters this past week to Paolo Bonaiuti, as well as to the head of the publishing and information ministry, to Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti, Minister of Economic Development Claudio Scajola.
Among the senders were the National Congress of Italian Canadians (Toronto and Ottawa districts), Consul General of Toronto Gianni Bardini, Italian institutions in Canada such as the Chamber of Commerce, ICE, and Team Italia, universities in Toronto and those of Ottawa, Mississauga, Kingston, and Waterloo, as well as the Vicar Apostolic of Toronto, federations, clubs, and associations from Vancouver to Montreal who wanted to enter the battle field to support Corriere Canadese’s fight to have funding restored.
Not only is the fate of a daily at stake, but also the safeguarding of a language that has been “guaranteed” for over a half century through the daily distribution of a newspaper that has become part of the community. And it would be those very Italian-Canadians – and the new generations especially – who would pay the highest price.
All this seems clear from our readers’ letters and the faces of those who drop into the editorial offices to express their gesture of solidarity, commenting that they cannot imagine ‘a future without my paper.’
Corriere Canadese is not the property of overseas politicians – it is the voice of Italian immigrants who read it every morning, it belongs to students who use it for Italian lessons, and to all those who buy it every morning to read the latest from Italy, Canada, and the world, and to show their children examples of Made in Italy, the Italian culture, and traditions that are in danger of being lost.
The fact also seems clear that the Italian-Canadian community’s immense delusion over this provision is also due to the behaviour of some parliamentarians elected abroad who, not only did they not oppose the law, but even voted in favour, going against the interests of their own electorate.
The result is that the Italian vote abroad – a topic that has always and will continue to spark debate – is now seen by Italian-Canadians as a right in form but not in content, in that their voice is neither heard nor taken into consideration.
The entire community shares deep bitterness for the failure to acknowledge the important role Italians have in the world, and the benefits Italy enjoys thanks to them: consider, for example, economic aspects, with the promotion of Made in Italy, the trade, the tourism, and the commercial exchange with many other countries.
This is also why many citizens in Toronto are mobilizing as well, resolved not to give up what they consider their right to information.
Lucania Club organized a meeting this past Wednesday to discuss the Italian-Canadian situation, the funding cuts to the press abroad, and the vote abroad.

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