Points: 31 // Status: Partly Free

65 - Italy

Newspapers are primarily run by political parties or owned by large Media groups, but they continue to provide a range of political opinions, including those that are critical of the government.

Italian news agencies, which provide the majority of information content to the Media, also offer direct information services via digital platforms, such as web, satellite, and cellphones. In Italy, news agencies have always been free from the government’s influence. Currently, there are 41 national free channels and over 30 pay-per-view channels.

In 2013, approximately 58 percent of Italians accessed the internet regularly during the year, and 47 percent had internet access via mobile. The internet is generally unrestricted, but authorities are intensely active in blocking file-sharing and live-streaming sites if they seem to illegally provide access to copyrighted content.

Freedom of expression and the press are constitutionally guaranteed and generally respected via a large variety of vibrant Media. However, the Italian press environment still faces a number of challenges​. Italy suffers from an unusually high concentration of media ownership for the region. ​

The right to access information is not included in the constitution, and Italy does not have a freedom of information law, relying instead on a patchwork of provisions scattered across different statutes. AGCOM, the national media regulator, has been severely criticized in the past for favoring Berlusconi’s media empire and other politically connected conglomerates. Political interference in the operations and content of RAI, the public broadcaster, has also contributed to undermining media freedom in Italy. Since Berlusconi resigned as prime minister in November 2011, political pressure has diminished, but it is far from absent.