Susanna Camusso, General Secretary of Italy’s largest trade union, the General Confederation of Italian Workers (CGIL), adheres to the European Initiative for Media Pluralism, which she defines “an extraordinary opportunity for direct democracy”.

Here below is her article, reported from the CGIL official webpage:

The CGIL, along with many other organisations, promotes the campaign and the collection of signatures for the “Citizens’ Initiative for Media Pluralism”.

In Europe, it is possible to take advantage of a new tool of democracy, still too little known and used: the European Citizens’ Initiative. It consists of the possibility, after collecting one million signatures in at least seven countries, of presenting a legislative proposal directly to the European Commission.

In order to justify cuts and lack of action in support of families and employment, we continually hear the expression “Europe is asking us to do so”. In this situation, an instrument of participatory democracy that allows citizens to take direct action on EU policies is important, it must be supported and must succeed. It is already been used by the Trade Union of Public Administration for the ongoing Water Rights ECI Campaign (“Water and sanitation are a human right!”), and now, in this new recently-launched campaign.

The CGIL has always been part of the movement for freedom and the right to a free and plural information. For years, it has fought against censorships, monopolies, conflicts of interest, the proliferation of forms of work which take away rights, and results in less freedom and independence for information operators. All these issues concern Italy, and they must be a priority for the new government, but unfortunately they are spreading in many other European countries where spaces of pluralism are narrowing.

The lack of concrete actions thus far by European institutions (except for some deserving, but indecisive, interventions by the European Parliament), even in the face of flagrant violations, has given way to the emergence of these problems. This collection of signatures represents an extraordinary opportunity for direct democracy, a possibility that should be properly valued and exploited. By no means does it exhaust the set of issues related to pluralism but the European Commission, should the initiative be successful, should adopt a Directive on key issues such as: regulation of ownership and control of the media, an indication of elective government positions or in which, it should be not possible to assume positions of control, independence of radio and television public service, independence of supervisory authorities. Participating in the campaign and signature collection is a concrete and important act for the freedom of information in Italy, and in Europe.