Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Osservatorio di Pavia

The media observatory in Pavia regularly collects info on politicians' time on screen on all Rai channels. Recently, it seems that certain on the right have been complaining about an absence of Berlusconi from Rai's screens. Mauro Mazza, director of Tg2 - not, I would have thought, a committed centre-left supporter - says some pretty sane things which show up the weakness of existing attempts to monitor political bias:

"To maintain that we're against Berlusconi is like saying that Il Tempo is for Prodi. In the same way that Il Tempo publishes lots of photos of the Prime Minister; - but it does it with caricature, or highlighting his errors. By this I mean that it's not important how long we speak about a politician for, but rather the manner in which we do so.... the data [from Pavia] need to be interpreted, they're not the Gospel".

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Andrea Rendi said...

Dear Chris,
I would say that the relative absence of our former Prime Minister Berlusconi from Rai's screens is mainly due to his current, total absence of relevant political statements, relevant from our country's future, I mean.
This does not imply that Rai is used to conveying exclusively very important political news...

Chris Hanretty said...

Dear Andrea,

Thanks for the comment. I agree that Berlusconi's been pretty absent from the political scene. Now, however,it seems he's come back to complain about paying too much tax. But you're right to point out one weakness of content analysis: lack of screen time for a particular politician or a particular party may just mean that that politician or party is not doing anything news-worthy.