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The #cambieRAI protests in stance against racism in Italian media

The demonstration was held simultaneously in Milan, Rome and Turin

The #cambieRAI protests in stance against racism in Italian media
The demonstration was held simultaneously in Milan, Rome and Turin
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The #cambieRAI protests in stance against racism in Italian media  The demonstration was held simultaneously in Milan, Rome and Turin

Yesterday, crowds gathered across the country in the cities of Milan, Rome and Torino in front of the headquarters of Italy’s national state broadcaster RAI to protest against a handful of recent incidents where the racist language was unapologetically used on a few of the broadcaster’s channels. In the past few months, there have been over six times where language considered hateful and offensive to Black people has been used including on Italy’s program of Big Brother aired in February and September, by Italian actress Valeria Fabrizi on the TV show A Ruota Libera and lastly on a supposedly satiric TV show called Striscia La Notizia as well as several other occasions. 

In hope for change from the institution the hashtag #CambieRAI was created and days before, an open was sent out to all Italian media which read the following : 

Rai, as the company that exclusively manages the Italian public radio and television service, has a specific responsibility towards all contributors. Especially since its code of ethics provides: "A high quality level of information programming characterized by a European and international vision, pluralism, completeness, impartiality, objectivity, respect for human dignity, professional ethics, a guarantee of adequate, effective and loyal cross-examination in order to guarantee information, learning and development of the critical, civil and ethical sense of the national collective. 

We are citizens of this country, we are contributions from the public service, and we believe that the representation of society that is broadcasted on the small screen, every day and every evening, entering the homes of millions of people, is totally artificial. Off screen this country is characterized by a rich ethnic, cultural, gender and sexual oriental diversity that is not represented by the media.

We therefore ask for a change of course from RAI and all Italian paper and digital media, television and radio, so that we can move from a toxic and anachronistic narrative, detrimental to the dignity of racialized people, to an inclusive narrative, which reflects the reality of Italy of 2021.

We do not want to be silent victims or silenced, exploited or heralded as a trophy of an elusive "inclusive": we are people who have the right and ownership of the word on the discriminations that pass on our skin. In an Italy that has not yet come to terms with its colonial past, it is time for a frank confrontation on racism to be opened, starting with our voices as racialized subjects.