Marcello Foa, a Eurosceptic journalist who has often shared stories proved to be fake, who also holds anti-gay, anti-immigration, anti-vaccine and pro-Russia views, has been appointed president of Rai, Italy’s state broadcaster.
Fake stories shared by Foa included one during the US presidential election campaign about Hillary Clinton participating in satanic dinners and another about a supposed plan to overthrow Donald Trump. He has also said that being gay is abnormal and that giving babies vaccines could provoke a “shock” in the child. He has expressed admiration for Steve Bannon and Vladimir Putin, and in the past has collaborated with the state-funded Russian news outlets RT TV and Sputnik.
Rai’s journalist union, Usigrai, had urged the committee to carry out an “in-depth assessment to ensure the legitimacy” of the candidate. Industry sources said that Foa’s appointment is likely to prompt journalists at Rai to resign in protest. “They fear the loss of freedom,” said one source.
Many speculate that Foa’s appointment was made possible after Berlusconi struck a deal with Matteo Salvini, deputy prime minister and leader of the League, ensuring that his business interests would be protected from government interference. Berlusconi owns the rival media company, Mediaset.
“Foa won the vote because of the Berlusconi accord,” said a source.