With a Little Help from Al Gore

In 2005, Al Gore launched Current TV, self-described as a “peer-to-peer news and information network.”

Now the Emmy Award-winning network is helping some Italian broadcast journalists find a voice after being virtually laid off by the Italian government for the next three weeks.

The government of Silvio Berlusconi has decided to interpret a law mandating that political debates on TV give the same amount of on-air time for all candidates. Having a huge number of candidates and parties running for the upcoming regional elections (March 28 and 29), the government just decided it was easier to pull the plug on all shows focusing on political analyses and debates.

Since a large part of these programs are often critical of the Berlusconi government, it seems clear this move should favor the ruling party’s run in the elections, despite gloomy clouds of defeat have already started to gather on the horizon.

Now this is where Current TV steps in.

Al Gore has opened the doors of Current TV Italia (the other two Current TVs are based in the U.S. and U.K.) to these journalists, offering them a platform that cannot be censored or blocked by the government.

Here’s what Gore had to say about hosting on Thursday evening a special episode of Annozero, the political analysis program hosted by journalist Michele Santoro.

“Current tells the stories no one else is telling. That’s why we are proud to carry important information shows like Annozero – particularly at a time when other channels are not. Current Italia is committed to independence and truth-telling. We will continue to work with our audience and the Italian creative community on creating and producing the important stories of the day.”

Santoro himself declared a few days ago that if he were to be kicked off Italy’s public television RAI, just like in early 2002, he would use alternative media to keep working.

Santoro, alongside journalist Enzo Biagi and comedian Daniele Luttazzi, was laid off from RAI in 2002 after Berlusconi declared in a press conference in Bulgaria that “RAI’s managers should not allow its criminal use” by certain employees. (see video below)

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