Anti-fascist censorship row overshadows Italy’s Liberation Day celebrations

by Admin
Anti-fascist censorship row overshadows Italy's Liberation Day celebrations

The row was ignited after anti-fascist writer Antonio Scurati’s appearance on Rai’s Saturday evening show was cancelled.


Italy on Thursday marked the 79th anniversary of its liberation from Nazi occupation and fascist rule with a public holiday and commemorations across the country.

On April 25, 1945, Italian partisans launched a massive uprising against the fascist regime and Nazi occupation in Milan and Turin, which marked the start of their retreat from Italy. 

Premier Giorgia Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party traces its roots to the neo-fascist movement that emerged after the fall of dictator Benito Mussolini, joined the Italian president at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Rome for the solemn Liberation Day commemoration.

The celebrations, however, have been marred by a media storm over suspected censorship and the legacy of Italian complicity in the Holocaust and World War II-era crimes.

State-run broadcaster, RAI  has come under heavy fire after it decided to withdraw a monologue on fascism by Italian author Antonio Scurati. It was planned to be broadcast on the talk show “Chesarà,” which aired on the broadcaster’s RAI 3 channel on Saturday night.

In protest, host Serena Bortone read out the monologue in full on air herself.

Scurati’s text has also now been published by many Italian newspapers and websites.

In the piece, Scurati – whose prize-winning volume “M” details Mussolini’s rise and its parallels with the present day – denounces fascism and accuses Meloni’s party of trying to rewrite history.

The monologue recounts two well-known incidents: the June 10, 1924 assassination of Giacomo Matteotti, a Socialist lawmaker opposed to fascism by Mussolini hitmen; and the 1944 massacres of Italian civilians during the waning period of Nazi occupation.

On Sunday, Scurati read out his monologue to a live audience in Naples – and accused Meloni of painting a “target” on his back by using her platform to “personally attack” him.

Critics have for months been claiming that RAI has appointed figures ideologically close to Meloni’s government, the most right-wing since World War II, dubbing it “Telemeloni”.

RAI has launched an internal investigation into the decision-making that led to Scurati’s monologue being dropped.

RAI executive Paolo Corsini has denied that the monologue was pulled for censorship reasons, blaming it instead on contractual issues and Scurati’s rapport with RAI competitor Sky Italia.

Meloni has denied any censorship on her part, and responded to the row by posting Scurati’s monologue on her Facebook account, accusing the left-wing opposition of creating a scandal where none existed.

She suggested Italians decide for themselves while clarifying what she thought of him.

“Those who have always been ostracised and censored by the public service will never ask for anyone’s censorship,” she wrote.

“Not even those who think that their propaganda against the government should be paid for with citizens’ money,” she added, referring to reports that Scurati wanted to be paid an excessive fee.

The fracas has struck a nerve in Italy, where Meloni’s 2022 election as the first hard-right leader since World War II has revived criticism that Italians haven’t fully reckoned with their fascist past in the same way that ordinary Germans have.


Meloni has tried to distance her Brothers of Italy party from its neo-fascist roots and has gone out of her way to forge ties with Italy’s Jewish community. Her party has backed a long-delayed project for a Holocaust Museum and has strongly supported Israel, including in its current war in Gaza.

But the opposition has accused Meloni and her party of refusing to declare themselves “firmly anti-fascist”.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, Meloni again avoided using the term “anti-fascist”. But she celebrated how Liberation Day symbolised “the end of fascism” and “laid the foundations for the return of democracy”.

“We reaffirm our aversion to all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. Those of yesterday, which oppressed peoples in Europe and the world, and those of today, which we are determined to oppose with commitment and courage,” she wrote.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whose ceremonial position puts him above the political fray, took a harder line. After laying a wreath with Meloni at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Rome, he travelled to the Tuscan town of Civitella, the site of a 1944 Nazi massacre of 244 civilians.


There, he demanded that Italians never forget the “Nazi-fascist barbarism” of World War II, including fascist propaganda and censorship that sought to deny the massacres, murders, deportations and other violations that took place on Italian soil.

“It is necessary – today and in the future – to remember those massacres and victims,” Mattarella said. “Without memory, there is no future.”

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