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The Italian RAI is being criticized for taking over the anti-fascist monologue of ‘M’ writer




The Italian RAI is being criticized for taking over the anti-fascist monologue of 'M' writer

Italian state broadcaster RAI is under heavy fire over accusations that it censored a planned anti-fascist monologue by prominent writer Antonio Scurati, author of the international bestseller ‘M: Son of the Century’, detailing the rise of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini power is reconstructed.

Scurati was scheduled to read his monologue – written to mark the upcoming national holiday of April 25, which celebrates Italy’s liberation from fascism – in the talk show ‘Chesarà’, which aired on Saturday evening on the RAI 3 channel of the broadcaster.

Shortly before the show’s broadcast, as the writer prepared to travel to Rome, he received a note from the RAI informing him that his performance had been canceled “for editorial reasons,” according to an internal RAI document published by the left-wing daily La Repubblica.

In protest against the sudden muzzling, ‘Chesarà’ presenter Serena Bortone herself read the talk show’s monologue in full. Scurati’s text has now also been published by many Italian newspapers and websites.

In the monologue, Scurati claims that Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party has neo-fascist roots, “stubbornly stuck to the ideological line of its neo-fascist culture of origin: she distanced herself from the indefensible atrocities committed by the regime (the persecution of the Jews) without ever rejecting the fascist experience as a whole.”

Scurati’s novel “M: Son of the Century” has been translated for publication in 46 countries, has sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide and won the Premio Strega, Italy’s most prestigious literary prize. It is published in the US by HarperCollins.

Meloni has been in power since October 2022 and leads a coalition that also includes the far-right League and Forza Italia of the late Silvio Berlusconi.

In Italy, the government has always exerted influence over RAI, albeit to varying degrees depending on who is in power.

In the Italian press, RAI director Paolo Corsini has denied that the monologue was withdrawn for censorship reasons, but blamed contractual issues and Scurati’s link with RAI rival Sky Italia. Comcast’s pay-TV service will air a high-end TV drama adapted from “M: Son of the Century,” directed by British helmer Joe Wright.

Meloni has responded by publishing Scurati’s speech on her Facebook page, while attacking Scurati for charging RAI a €1,800 ($1,900) fee for his appearance on the show, which she called “propaganda.”

Prominent TV critic Aldo Grasso pointed out in the newspaper Corriere della Sera that the RAI’s muzzling of Scurati has now led to “the opposite” effect, making the writer’s anti-fascist words hugely relevant.

It will be interesting to see how the government and the Italian public react when Wright’s bizarre ‘M: Son of the Century’ adaptation, with a techno score, airs locally on Sky at an undisclosed date later this year.

In the highly anticipated show, Luca Marinelli (“The Eight Mountains,” “Martin Eden”) plays Mussolini in the period between 1919, when he founded the Fascist party in Italy, and 1925, when he came to power with the March on Rome in 1922. – Mussolini made an infamous speech in the Italian Chamber of Deputies declaring himself dictator.

Luca Marinelli in the upcoming TV film adaptation of “M: Son of the Century.”
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