One in three songs on the radio ‘should be Italian’: League MP

Italian radio stations must play more Italian music, according to League MPs still angry about the winner of the Sanremo Music Festival.

One in three songs on the radio 'should be Italian': League MP
The venue of Italy's Sanremo Music Festival. Photo: AFP

Rightwing League MP Alessandro Morelli has submitted a bill in the Lower House that would require one in three songs played by radio stations in Italy to be Italian, saying traditional Italian music is suffering under the influence of “lobbies and political interests.”

Morelli and League leader Matteo Salvini were among those left outraged after a Moroccan-influenced singer won this year's edition of the popular song contest.

Mahmood during the Sanremo Music Festival. Photo: Sanremo/Facebook.

Milan-born singer Alessandro Mahmoud, who performs under the name Mahmood, was questioned about his nationality after his win with non-traditional “Morocco-pop” song Soldi earlier this month. The contest's voting system was criticised as unfair by some.  

Morelli told local media: “Mahmood's victory at Sanremo shows that great lobbies and political interests outweigh the music. I want to help the artists and producers of our country through the tools I have as a parliamentarian.”  

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Sanremo, Italy's answer to Eurovision

Morelli, currently chair of the Lower House transport committee, was formerly director of the League's own radio station, Radio Padania.  

He said he hopes his proposal wiill “start a broad debate on Italian creativity.”

His music bill, co-signed by eight fellow League members, states that national and private radio stations must reserve “at least a third of their daily programming for the Italian musical production, the work of Italian authors and artists, recorded and produced in Italy, during each 24 hours of programming.”

READ ALSO: Italy puts 200,000 classic Italian songs online for free

An additional ten percent of the songs played must be by “emerging” local artists, the text said.

The bill would also require that Italian music be considered “cultural heritage protected by the Constitution”. 

If the law is passed, radio stations that fail to comply would face an eight- to 30-day suspension from the air.

Morelli quoted government data showing that only 23 percent of the music played on Italy's ten biggest radio stations currently fits his criteria.

A similar quota system has long been in place in neighbouring France where, since the 1994 passing of the 'Toubon law' on the use and promotion of the French language, radio stations must make sure at least 40 percent of the music played is French.

READ ALSO: Seven songs that will help you learn Italian

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Berlusconi to run for Senate in Italy’s elections

Scandal-plagued former premier Silvio Berlusconi said he plans to return to Italy's parliament in upcoming elections, almost a decade after being forced out over a conviction for tax fraud.

Berlusconi to run for Senate in Italy's elections

“I think that, in the end, I will be present myself as a candidate for the Senate, so that all these people who asked me will finally be happy,” the 85-year-old billionaire and media mogul told Rai radio on Wednesday.

After helping bring down Prime Minister Mario Draghi last month by withdrawing its support, Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia party looks set to return to power in elections on September 25th.

It is part of a right-wing coalition led by Giorgia Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy, which includes Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration League.

Berlusconi brushed off reports he is worried about the possibility of Meloni – whose motto is “God, country and family” – becoming prime minister.

Noting the agreement between the parties that whoever wins the most votes chooses the prime minister, he said: “If it is Giorgia, I am sure she will prove capable of the difficult task.”

READ ALSO: Italy’s hard right set for election victory after left-wing alliance collapses

But he urged voters to back his party as the moderate voice in the coalition, emphasising its European, Atlanticist stance.

“Every extra vote in Forza Italia will strengthen the moderate, centrist profile of the coalition,” he said in a separate interview published Wednesday in the Il Giornale newspaper.

League party leader Matteo Salvini (L), Fratelli d’Italia leader Giorgia Meloni and Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi pictured in October 2021. The trio look set to take power following snap elections in September. Photo by CLAUDIO PERI / ANSA / AFP

Berlusconi was Italy’s prime minister three times in the 1990s and 2000s, but has dominated public life for far longer as head of a vast media and sports empire.

The Senate expelled him in November 2013 following his conviction for tax fraud, and he was banned from taking part in a general election for six years.

He was elected to the European Parliament in 2019, however, and threw his hat in the ring earlier this year to become Italy’s president — although his candidacy was predictably short-lived.

Berlusconi remains a hugely controversial figure  in Italy and embroiled in the many legal wrangles that have characterised his long career.

He remains on trial for allegedly paying guests to lie about his notorious “bunga-bunga” sex parties while prime minister.

Berlusconi has also suffered a string of health issues, some related to his hospitalisation for coronavirus in September 2020, after which he said he had almost died.