Toronto demo demands return of RAI International
February 10th, 2012 - 13:31 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

At the Consulate General of Italy in Toronto, Italian-Canadians have held a demonstration to protest the end of production of RAI Internazionale’s programming for markets abroad. The entrance hall was crowded with demonstrators displaying posters and requests to reactivate two programmes especially: Gran Sportello Italia and Italia chiama Italia – RAI Internazionale’s two most-watched programmes.

In reference to these two programmes, Consul General Gianni Bardini was presented with a letter from the Italian community addressed to Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti which, while expressing the community’s full awareness of the current difficult economic situation that inevitably compels spending cuts by the Italian State, requests the reinstatement of Gran Sportello Italia and Italia chiama Italia.

“We don’t want to be considered Serie B (second division in Italian soccer) Italians, seeing that we regularly pay the licence fee,” said protestor Luigi Reda. “With this our peaceful demonstration, we wish to ask Premier Monti – who confirms having been an Italian ‘abroad’ himself – to have our rights respected, not being shunted aside, to have our voice heard.

“We have found another homeland in Canada and here we Italians have done our duty, affirming our presence in various fields and sectors of the country, maintaining the name of Italy in high regard. To replace the broadcasts transmitted abroad,” continues Reda, “RAI is broadcasting animated cartoons that unfortunately not even my grandchildren watch.”