Italian politicians condemn Rai’s Sky pullout

Italian opposition and trades union representatives have condemned public broadcaster Rai’s decision to pull its thematic channels from the Sky Italia pay-TV platform after Rai failed to strike a deal with the News Corp-backed operator, according to local reports.

Senator Francesco Pardi and parliamentary deputy Giorgio Merlo, who sit on Rai’s supervisory commission, and Senator Vincenzo Vita, vice-president of the cultural commission, accused Rai director-general Mauro Masi of failing to provide an adequate explanation of the pubcaster’s decision to forego carriage fee and advertising revenue that would accrue from a deal with Sky and of subsuming the organisation’s interests to that of commercial broadcaster Mediaset, owned by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and Sky Italia’s major competitor.

Representatives of the SLC-CGIL union have meanwhile requested a meeting with Masi and have asked why the broadcaster chose to give up the economic benefits of a deal with Sky in favour of an untested platform, and have questioned guarantees given by Rai about the security of employment of those working for the RaiSat channels.