Controversial appointment RAI president

Letter to EP President Tajani
Marietje

Please find below a letter sent to President Tajani, President of the European Parliament, on the controversial appointment of Mr Foa as president to Italy's national broadcaster RAI. The letter has so far been co-signed by 22 Members of the European Parliament.

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Strasbourg, 2 October 2018  

Dear President Tajani,

It has come to our attention that the Italian parliament appointed on 26 September a new president to Italy’s national broadcaster RAI.

While we fully respect the sovereignty of the Italian parliament to choose whom they see fit in making this appointment, we are concerned with the choice of Marcello Foa as president.[1]    

Foa is reportedly a regular contributor to Russia’s propaganda outfits Russia Today and Sputnik, and has often shared information online that can be qualified as “disinformation” under the  Code of Conduct on Disinformation that was adopted yesterday, for instance about the participation of Hillary Clinton in “satanic dinners”.[2]

We applaud your strong position on the challenge Europe is facing on countering disinformation online.

On 27 September, you highlighted how "Europe is under attack from Russia and from some in the US" at the High Level Conference on fact-checking in the EU.[3] “Our freedom and democracy are under attack by #fakenews”, you tweeted today.[4]    

We urge you to continue this leadership and address this topic at the next European Council summit that you will attend. How is this appointment in line with the efforts of the European Council to create a coordinated EU response to challenge disinformation, as highlighted by the Council conclusions of 28 June 2018? And how will the plans of the Council ensure that its efforts to counter disinformation are not only limited to online platforms, but also include traditional news media and broadcasters, who have expressed themselves in favour of clear industry standards to counter disinformation[5]?  

Sincerely,  

Marietje Schaake (ALDE)

Petras Austrevicius (ALDE)

Brando Benifei (S&D)

Michal Boni (EPP)

Jean-Marie Cavada (ALDE)

Nessa Childers (S&D)

Thierry Cornillet (ALDE)

Pascal Durand (Greens/EFA)

Ana Gomes (S&D)

Antanas Guoga (EPP)

Rebecca Harms (Greens/EFA)

Petra Kammerevert (S&D)

Tunne Kelam (EPP)

Monica Macovei (ECR)

Matthijs van Miltenburg (ALDE)

Ana Miranda (Greens/EFA)

Julia Reda (Greens/EFA)

Robert Rochefort (ALDE)

Molly Scott Cato (Greens/EFA)

Alyn Smith (Greens/EFA)

Catherine Stihler (S&D)

Indrek Tarand (Greens/EFA)

Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE)

[1]https://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-television-rai/italys-lawmakers-pick-euroskeptic-to-chair-state-owned-tv-rai-idUSKCN1M62MX?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

[2]https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/26/fake-news-journalist-made-chair-of-italys-state-broadcaster

[3]https://www.euractiv.com/section/media4eu/news/europe-is-under-attack-tajani-and-gabriel-on-fake-news/1274774/

[4]https://twitter.com/EP_President/status/1045230117868490753  

[5]https://www.ebu.ch/contents/news/2018/09/sounding-board-of-forum-on-disinformation-online-issues-unanimous-opinion-on-so-called-code-of-practice.html