Italy will reduce the compulsory licence fee that helps finance public TV and radio broadcaster RAI from 90 to 70 euros ($73.70) per year, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Monday.
The change, expected to kick in next year as part of the 2024 budget approved by the government, amounts to a cut of around 22%.
Salvini, whose hard-right League party has long promised to completely abolish the subsidy for RAI, presented the cut as a first step.
Italian consumer groups welcomed the move, while Vittorio Di Trapani, the head of journalists’ union FNSI, said it further undermined RAI’s independence.
The public broadcaster will have to downsize or become a government mouthpiece in order to receive the missing funds from general taxation, Di Trapani wrote on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
In Italy, the TV licence fee is paid automatically via a surcharge in electricity bills, introduced in 2016 to curtail widespread evasion.
According to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), several countries in the wider European region have recently dropped the licence fee system, including France and Turkey in 2022. Reuters