A petition for a law regulating journalism was approved in January 2013.
4.2.6 Media pluralism and content diversity
The establishment of a public radio and television broadcasting company was a major historical and diplomatic event. In 1990, San Marino ratified a cooperation agreement with Italy, thus regaining its independence and the right to make its voice heard also through these means; a prerogative which it had renounced in 1953.
San Marino RTV, the public company responsible for the Republic's radio and television services, was established in 1991. San Marino RTV is the exclusive provider of the public radio and television broadcasting service. Among its transmissions, information programmes play a leading role, although there is enough space for others in the fields of economics, society, culture, politics, etc., San Marino RTV contributed to the country's civic education through social campaigns on the environment, alcoholism, handicap, third age, etc and broadcasts alternative programmes. In 2002, changes in managerial positions were accompanied by a new editorial line, in compliance with Law n. 41 of 1989, Establishing the San Marino Broadcasting Company, and with the mandate of the Board of Directors. The pivotal concept of this new cultural policy was the "sammarinesità" (for any clarification about the meaning of this term, see chapter 2.2), taking into consideration the different local contexts, including those most decentralised and least considered.
There are also programmes concerning art and culture, offering a different perspective according to the target audience. Addressed to the younger generations, the "TG Ragazzi" proposes references to music, youth culture and education; the "TG Comunità" has been created for San Marino citizens abroad and it is broadcasted every month. The aim is to provide San Marino citizens living in the country with an overview of the activities that their fellow citizens abroad carry out and, at the same time, offer to the associations and communities a new communication channel, besides the institutional ones, to establish a dialogue among them and with the Republic. To this end, San Marino RTV has sent a web-cam to all 25 communities to provide live broadcasts with the headquarters and the members of the associations worldwide. Every edition is also available on the web-site of San Marino RTV for on-line consultation. "Viale Kennedy 13" is another TV magazine format: theatre, art, music, culture, history, tangible and intangible knowledge of the Republic and the territory.
Finally, "Rubricario" deals with volunteer activities, associations and solidarity; its protagonists are San Marino local movements and associations, connected to the Montefeltro area, in the light of the Diocesan Pastoral: catechism and parish communities of the territory. Particular attention is paid to the religious calendar of the Christian Laity: events, institutional and religious anniversaries of the San Marino-Montefeltro Diocese.
In March 2008, an Agreement on Radio and Television Cooperation was signed between the Republic of San Marino and the Italian Republic. The Agreement, already ratified by San Marino, represents a step forward in the cooperation between the two countries in this strategic sector. Besides ending the monopoly regime, it provides for the extension of the catchment area for San Marino RTV, the opportunity to use the satellite and to establish synergies between the San Marino broadcasting station and the Italian RAI in the fields of staff training, technological devices and programming.
From 2008, and throughout the following four years, the journalist Carmen Lasorella held the position of Director of San Marino RTV. Since the beginning of her mandate, she has been committed to improving information, by working with the support of the government to strengthen the structure, extend the catchment area and broadcast satellite transmissions. This benefited from international information: the introduction of a broad-base news bulletin with the involvement of experts was an important step forward due to the broadcasting of satellite transmissions. Indeed, another agreement signed between RAI and San Marino RTV in October 2009 concerns the technical quality of services, computerised television and radio production, as well as new technological platforms, mainly aimed at interactivity, in order to improve television services offered to citizens. In June 2009, on the occasion of the live broadcast of the administrative election results, the new web site of San Marino RTV was put on-line. It is a real Internet portal enabling extension of the catchment area compared to analogue systems and favouring information through the most modern technology. The portal, developed in such a way as to be accessible to non-sighted and partially-sighted people, displays all editions of the news, offers high video quality and the possibility of interaction with users, as well as more flexibility.
In October 2012, Carlo Romeo, RAI manager, replaced Carmen Lasorella as Director General of San Marino RTV. Political and social forces are requesting some changes in the management, to be introduced through an editorial planning more in line with reality and a project to re-launch the broadcasting company. In this way, it will be possible to enhance the aspects connected with its identity and history, in order to reach the potentially unlimited audience of digital terrestrial TV, satellite and web.
San Marino has 3 daily newspapers published on the territory, one of which is also electronic. Moreover, news concerning San Marino can also be found in some newspapers of the surrounding areas. There is also a local weekly paper - "San Marino Fixing" - reporting on economics, finance and politics, which, since 2008, deals with San Marino culture on a monthly basis. In its presentation, this new supplement has been defined as a contribution to the country's social awareness, considering that the moral growth of a population is influenced by the improvement of its cultural life and that economic development and wellbeing are a direct consequence thereof. Among daily newspapers, "La Tribuna Sammarinese" publishes a supplement, a magazine on art, music and culture in the Republic of San Marino. "La Maison", a periodical dealing with housing, includes a specific section on visual arts written by an art critic. The Associations of San Marino citizens abroad deal with cultural issues related to San Marino through their magazines - inter alia "La Voce dei Sammarinesi", "Il Titano", "Lo Scalpello", "Pagine Sammarinesi", "Forum". The latest to be published in the Republic is "Avvenimenti", an information periodical of the San Marino Foundation. Nowadays, the San Marino banking foundations are becoming so important at cultural level to be defined as "examples of active citizenship to the service of civil society". Indeed, today any exhibition, event and cultural project can benefit from the economic support and sponsorship of the Credit Institutions Foundations (see also chapter 7.3 for the emerging cooperation with the Foundations).
In 2005, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs improved its website by including information on the Republic's international activities and relations, which can be easily accessed also by foreign organisations and San Marino citizens residing abroad. The publishing sector is regulated by Law n. 25 of 1998, "Publishing Companies and Provisions for the Publishing Industry", and by Decree n. 108 of 1999, amending and supplementing the preceding law.
With regard to antitrust measures to prevent monopoly in the publishing sector, the above-mentioned Law n. 25/1998 is aimed (art. 3) inter alia at prohibiting dominant positions in the information market by one or more publishing companies. This Law assigns control powers to the Guarantor of Information (art. 4), whose functions are performed by the Supervising Commission (which also monitors, in parallel, the State Television).
In May 2008, a first reading of a new Law Regulating the Activity of Publishers and Journalists was held at the Parliament. The purpose of this law is to guarantee transparency in property and financing of newspapers, freedom and pluralism of information by publishers and to adopt a code of conduct for journalists. The objective is therefore to improve the quality of this activity. Moreover, the introduction of the register of publishers by the Supervising Commission, the task of which is to regulate this sector and the related professions, aims at carrying out a thorough analysis of this field so as to identify those entitled to State contributions (see also chapter 4.2.3 for contributions to the publishing sector). The draft law was put on hold until the appointment of a new legislature following elections (November 2008).
There is a lack of guarantees and instruments safeguarding operators and users, a code of professional ethics and an ad hoc professional association, which makes the production of information open to any kind of influence. On 1st April 2005, a new Union of San Marino Journalists and Photo-journalists (USGi) was established. As specified in the Statute, the Association, which has about 50 members, intends to: defend press freedom, protect the reputation of journalists, photographers and cameramen, also through a better definition of their terms of contract; establish relations with domestic and foreign organisms, bodies, associations and institutions with a view to favouring and safeguarding its members' activity, also outside the country, and promote greater awareness of the various issues concerning journalists through the organisation of events or the creation of independent press bodies. Moreover, in September 2005, San Marino hosted an international conference entitled "The Information Society: freedom, pluralism, resources".
In October 2011, a group of San Marino citizens submitted a popular petition (Istanza d'Arengo) to the Captains Regent "to regulate, by means of a specific legislation, the professional status of journalists". During its sitting of January 2012, the Parliament approved the petition by majority and committed the government to adopt, within its fields of competence, the relevant measures, which will have to be illustrated, within six months following the granting of the petition, to the competent Permanent Parliamentary Commission (II) by the member of the Congress of State (Minister of Information) entrusted with this task (for further information on the Parliamentary Commissions, see chapter 3.2).
In May 2007, San Marino decided to celebrate World Press Freedom Day by promoting a public meeting on "Freedom and information: meeting with the protagonists". The event represented an opportunity to discuss the central role played by free information in the protection and enhancement of democracy and the freedom of citizens in any country, as well as the attacks and situations to which journalists are often subjected. The meeting was followed by a debate with the San Marino media on the topic "Information in San Marino: rules, rights, professions". The operators in this field submitted a series of requests. The most urgent ones concerned: the agreements with Italy to develop San Marino professionals; access to sources and the truth on the basis of the right to information and in the public interest; collective bargaining; a Law on the Press to define rights and duties of journalists; training and professional updating. The government encourages the creation of a Code of Conduct for journalists and a Council for Information, in order to draft a law as soon as possible. These initiatives will receive the necessary support from the Ministry dealing with Information.
With regard to training, there are no refresher courses for journalists. Art. 8 of Law 25/1998 stipulate that the Congress of State "…shall promote specific courses concerning the professional qualifications which are mostly required for the staff of local media. These courses are managed directly or through agreements with public or private entities, or in collaboration with companies operating in this sector or with universities or schools of journalism. In order to promote the training of journalists, the Ministry of Information allocates grants for the training of professional journalists". In practice, except for some one-off courses organised some years ago, neither periodic refresher courses nor grants have been recently established. In order to bridge this gap between the law and practice, among the priorities of the Ministry of Information is the organisation of courses directed to the workers of this sector.
The Ministries of Labour and Information, in co-operation with the Professional Training Centre of San Marino, established, in 2007, a preparatory training course in journalism and public communication, sponsored by the Association of Journalists of Bologna, the San Marino Journalists Union (USGi) and with the agreement of the Supervising Commission. The objective of the course is to provide guidelines in the fields of journalism, the use of multimedia, radio and on-line information through theory and practice. The course offers two scholarships to access qualified training with some of the Italian newspapers. This training might represent the first step towards the creation of a school of journalism.
In 2009, the first and only edition of the specialisation course "Profession Reporter" was organised by the State Broadcasting Company and the Vocational Training Centre, with the support of the Universities of Urbino and Tor Vergata in Rome, as well as of the School of Radio and Television Journalism in Perugia. This course, taught by prominent Italian journalists, has contributed to the practice and knowledge of technological instruments, with in-depth studies on communication techniques and the profession of envoy for print media and on-line journalism, mainly concerning digital, satellite and web broadcasting means.
The World Day of Press Freedom was celebrated in 2008 with a public meeting entitled "Information between localism and globalisation". A journalism prize was offered for the first time – "Small Europe" - aimed at press, radio television and new media journalists of Italian speaking communities in Europe. In 2009, on the occasion of the World Day, a round table promoted by the Ministry of Information gathered the directors of newspapers to discuss the degree of press freedom in San Marino. The outcome of these discussions was that, considering the level of press and information through the Internet and television, information appears well represented to give voice to a plurality of opinions. Today's problem is rather the quality of news and the economic, and therefore political, independence of those working in this sector. In order to achieve high levels of quality, economic and professional resources are necessary, together with better access to sources. Indeed, the birth of investigative journalism is today prevented by a lack of access to sources. Despite San Marino ranking among the first countries in the global white list, compiled by the NGO Freedom House for 2008, on account of its press freedom, information stakeholders have underlined that press freedom can be easily influenced. Several problems have emerged: the lack of a framework for professional journalists and of a labour contract recognising and protecting the everyday activity of journalists and editors, as well as serious gaps in the legislation on press crimes and publishing. One of the problems identified in the fleeting borders between press freedom and censorship is the balance between the right to report and right to privacy, mainly in a small country like San Marino.
In 2010, on the occasion of the celebrations of the World Press Freedom Day, the Minister for Information declared that in San Marino "there is not in practice a completely free and autonomous press, since all have their own opinions, starting from publishers, who, among other things, are not pure. Pluralism, that is to say a plurality of newspapers, is the only strong point". Concerning the situation of San Marino information, the Minister recalls the steps forward made by the country, mainly over the last years, and agrees on the need to further improve the quality of information by promoting more training and specialisation courses and by increasing economic resources.
A popular petition, submitted by a San Marino citizen, for the adoption of a law regulating the journalism profession, also by establishing a specific professional register, was approved in January 2013." Indeed, the need is felt for legislation regulating this sector in order to guarantee the right to information, one the one hand, and the protection of this sector's operators and citizens, on the other. However, not all operators have the same opinion. Indeed, while the regulation of the delicate issue of information is fundamental and cannot be postponed, such regulation cannot imply the creation of an "information caste" in a democratic, liberal and evolved country. "Good information" and "good journalism" cannot be obtained through strict rules and classification in a professional register […] but through study, training and apprenticeship. […]".
In 2013 the Foundation "Valori Tattili" joined the publisher of a historic San Marino newspaper. At a time when publishing is suffering more than other sectors from the effects of the economic crisis, the choice made by the Foundation has reaffirmed the importance of newspapers as vehicles of culture, besides pure information (for further details on the banking Foundation see chapter 7.3).