In Italy, the chairman of the board of directors of the public broadcaster RAI has announced his resignation after months of conflict with the right-wing government of Giorgia Meloni. In a letter to the Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for broadcasting, RAI boss Carlo Fuortes said on Monday that the "political conflict" over his person, which has been going on since the beginning of the year, is weakening RAI, and that he also rejects planned changes to the program and editorial orientation.

According to government critics, Fuortes' resignation comes against the backdrop of the government's attempt by Meloni's right-wing party Fratelli d'Italia (FdI) to fill the leadership of the RAI and other cultural institutions in the country with politically close personalities. Fuortes had been appointed during the reign of Meloni's predecessor Mario Draghi.

Even before the parliamentary elections in September 2022, Meloni's party had filed a complaint against Fuortes with the broadcasting regulator after French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy sharply criticized the Italian right in a RAI television interview shortly before election day.

Deportation posts already in sight

Last Thursday, Meloni's government cabinet finally passed a controversial decree, which Italian media gave the name "Fuortes Decree": It stipulates that all directors of state opera houses older than 70 must vacate their posts by June 10. According to numerous observers, the right-wing government wants to vacate a post for Fuortes: The former director of the opera house in Rome is to be entrusted with the management of the opera in Naples after his departure from the RAI.

Former RAI chief executive and later centre-left MP Roberto Zaccaria called on the Meloni government to "respect the institutions" in an interview with the AFP news agency. The government must not "manipulate them to pursue political and personal goals," Zaccaria said.