Controversial Anti-Mafia Show Cancelled On Italian TV

Italian Government Accused Of Interference In Freedom Of Speech

Roberto Saviano. Credit: Roberto Saviano/

An Italian TV series all about the Mafia has been cancelled due to its outspoken presenter.

Italian Broadcaster, Rai has cancelled an anti-mafia television show which was due to be aired in November, just days after the show’s host made an inflammatory remark about the government’s links with organised crime, according to BNN, Thursday, July 27.

Outspoken Anti-Mafia Journalist

The show, titled ‘Insider, Face to Face With Crime,’ was set to broadcast four pre-recorded episodes in November. The programme was the brainchild of Roberto Saviano, a journalist known for his uncompromising comments on organized crime. However, the Italian state broadcaster, Rai, has now pulled the plug.

The decision came just days after Saviano publicly called out Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, using the term ‘the minister of the underworld.’

In response to the incendiary comment, Italy’s far-right Forza Italia party, together with two of its coalition partners, Brothers of Italy, and the League asked for the show to be cancelled. This has now led to claims that the government is pulling the strings and is in fact controlling the state broadcaster.

The series was intended to highlight the complicated relationship between the mafia and politics. Rai’s newly appointed CEO, Roberto Sergio, took the decision to axe the programme, denying that the decision was politically motivated.

However, Saviano, who lives under police protection due to threats from the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra, claims that it is an attack on free speech.

Journalist, Saviano is also currently facing charges of slander for his criticism of Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni’s migration policy. If found guilty he could be sentenced to three years in prison.

Freedom Of Speech

Last year Rai suffered numerous high-profile resignations which sparked rumours of government efforts to control the broadcaster’s agenda and blot out Italy’s anti-fascist history.

Now that the show has been pulled, Saviano accepts that the episodes may never be seen, but the events have left a question mark over the government’s involvement with public broadcasting and more crucially, freedom of speech.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.