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IFJ hails "momentous success" in demonstration for "Right to Know, Duty to Inform"

(IFJ/IFEX) - 5 October 2009 - The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), today congratulated its Italian affiliate, the Federazione della Stampa Italiana (FNSI) for successfully organising one of the biggest recent demonstrations in Rome this weekend under the theme "Right to Know. Duty to Inform", in cooperation with other unions and civil society.

According to Italian media, between 150,000 and 300,000 participants turned up for the massive protest, which took place at the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, to condemn the threats to press freedom in Italy following Prime Minister Berlusconi's recent onslaught on media. IFJ President Jim Boumelha addressed the protesters while other EFJ affiliates sent many messages of support and smaller demonstrations also took place in Berlin, Paris, Brussels and London.

The term "Berlusconisation" has been used in other European countries where political influence is gaining ground in journalism. That is why journalists' unions throughout Europe have been fiercely supporting the activities of the FNSI and civil rights' organisations.

"I am gratified by the energy I can feel here. It will take this kind of energy and much more to push back against the forces and the trends that imperil journalism and that journalists face today," Boumelha told demonstrators, who stayed over three hours to listen to prominent speakers protesting against Mr. Berlusconi's "Orwellian style of control".

"If Mr. Berlusconi loves his country as passionately as he claims, he should respect independent and free media, he must drop the law suits and let the press do its job," he added, encouraging journalists to take the fight for press freedom to their "desks, workplaces, colleagues and fellow citizens."

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