Beppe Grillo, the leader of Italy’s Five Star Movement (M5S), commented ironically about Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shortly after RSF published the 2017 World Press Freedom Index on 26 April.
Grillo wrote: “Today, I learned that I was the cause of the press freedom problem in Italy, that is what RSF’s report says. This was an eye-opener for me.” The M5S leader added: “If media coverage is no good, it’s my fault.”
“Beppe Grillo is caricaturing RSF and that is all the more regrettable given the use he made of the Press Freedom Index in the past, when he was excited about Italy’s score,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.
“RSF clearly doesn’t hold him responsible for the press freedom situation in Italy. The country’s ranking is due to political pressure and to threats by mafia-style criminal groups. Nonetheless, the creation of ‘people’s juries’ to reorient the media that ‘manufacture fake news,’ as proposed by Beppe Grillo, is worrying for freedom of information in Italy.”