Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Public attitudes towards Rai

In my thesis, I claimed that "there is no available polling evidence on whether Italians believe Rai to be independent of the government". That's not quite right. There's no public polling data, but I've hit the jackpot through trawling through the catalogue of the Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale: I've got Rai's own internal data.

Granted, it's from 1986. But still, it's tremendously useful. I don't know why the Fondazione Gramsci and the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi have copies, but I'm very glad they do.

They key data - on spontaneous and prompted responses to judgements on Rai - are as one might expect:

  • Rai is "an instrument in the hands of the leading class" [unprompted response]: 9.3%, a marked increase over the past ten years
  • Rai is "an organisation controlled by a few political parties" [prompted category]: 41.9%, five points down from ten years before;
  • Rai is "an organisation of the government" [prompted category]: 24.6%, five points down from ten years before;
  • Rai is "an organisation controlled by all the political parties": 20.4%, two and a half points up from 1979, or before the birth of RaiTre
  • Rai is "an organisation outside of politics": 4.1%, a marginal increase over ten years previously

So, Italian citizens judged [quite correctly in my view], that Rai was a political organisation; that it was controlled by an agreement between some parties, and not per se by the government or the entire political class. Let's take "outside of politics" as being equivalent to "independent from politics". If that's the case, then the 4.1% of Italians who judge Rai to be politically independent is much less than the 22% of Britons who judge the BBC to be politically independent.

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