Democracy is not reducible to the regular election of national representatives through an equitable voting process. In its most demanding version, it actually has to guarantee to everyone the same access to information, to be a genuine struggle for knowledge, to quote the Genoese humorist Beppe Grillo. But despite its democratic foundations, the Italian regime has been incessantly overwhelmed by information scandals throughout the last decades, to such an extent that until this year, Reporters without Borders annually warned the international community of the danger with its reports.
In their own way, Beppe Grillo and her colleague Sabina Guzzanti have decided to take advantage of technology to reverse this order of things. Respectively in 2005 and 2006, they opened their own blogs, which almost daily enumerate the failures of the Italian economic, political, social and informative system. The humorous tone enables both of them to entertain the reader as much as they try to provoke an awakening of his conscience of citizen. Quite surprisingly, they gradually gained not only a tremendous popular success, but also a growing recognition from their peers.
[...] Even though his master of the codes of fiction was brilliant, and enabled him to offer a romanticized version of political life, he actually invited the Italians to reconstruct their democracy of them went voting in 2006 to answer Berlusconi's challenge and discredit the telecracy's thesis. And it is a well-known fact that the man who defeated him, Romano Prodi, has no particular skills for selling his image in TV shows. The “professor” won over Television”. Politics won over publicity. [...]
[...] Is it as frightening as in Borges' imagination? So thinks the Italian thinker Umberto Eco : after having staunchly criticized television for its superficial acceleration of political time, he now regrets that the Internet spreads mistakes, slander and approximations at the same level as the most respectable information : exhaustiveness of information is as arguable as its lack”. Some opponents of blogs have even gone further in their accusations, considering that the real danger remained in the new involvement of citizens in the informative process, regardless of their legitimacy. [...]
[...] Basically, you need no more than ten minutes today to open your blog and fill it in with your comments, pictures and videos. But, regardless of the unlikelihood to see this kind of legislation being applied, it is interesting to notice the curiosity of Italian politicians for the buzz around blogs. Curiosity and more strikingly, fear, of being discredited by these new Media despite their recent attempts to master the codes of the Internet too. There is a key date to determine the beginning of the awareness in political circles. [...]
[...] But privatization, when it occurred in 1976, was granted without a corollary anti-trust policy, so that twenty years later, the RAI and Fininvest (Berlusconi's company) constituted a duopoly gathering 98% of the viewers. The 1995 referendum surprisingly confirmed this absurd arrangement, as well as the people's growing dissatisfaction facing the RAI's loss of credibility. (Ginsborg, 2003) The instability of this balance reached its paroxysm, evidently, after the election of Silvio Berlusconi as the President of Council. Media tycoons are not an isolated phenomenon in Western Europe (Rupert Murdoch, Arnaud Lagardère but none of these businessmen ever exerted a political function in his own name. [...]
[...] Blogs are not imitations of journalism, but they manage information in their own, different way which questions the darkest aspects of the Italian media system. Emancipated from any conflict of interests, of whatever nature, they have in their hands the tools to be more adventurous than their competitors, in partnership with the most active “reporters”, their readers. However, the Internet does not ward off the threat of populism and antipolitics. This is especially true in the case of blogs because they highly emphasize the personality of their main author, and put forward a dangerous dichotomy the people/ the elite. [...]
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