D5.1 Country Report | May 2021

Authors: Giuditta Fontana, Kerstin Wonisch, Mattia Zeba, Alexandra Cosima Budabin, Andrea Carlà

Scientific Coordinator: Roberta Medda-Windischer

The European Academy of Bozen Bozen-Bolzano (EURAC)

The report briefly summarises the key features of the Italian media landscape: its concentration; the growth of online platforms; and limits to media pluralism. It shows that Italian radicalising actors rely on social media platforms to disseminate their ideas and claims (rather than on the mainstream media).

To shed more light on the relationship between the media and radicalisation processes, we analysed three cultural objects produced by right-wing (Casa Pound Italia – CPI) and separatist (individuals linked to the Südtiroler Schützenbund – SSB) actors. We found that all cultural objects were constructed to trigger feelings of injustice linked with collective grievances of the population, alienation from the state institutions and polarisation against ‘perceived others’.
Concerning the triggering of right-wing radicalisation, we find that CPI’s videos clearly convey an ‘us vs them’ message, pitting the common Italian citizen against immigrants, criminals and corrupt elites, and advocating resistance against these actors. Comments by the audience suggest that the public interprets these messages as calls for revolution and for the re-establishment of a Fascist regime.

With regards to radical separatist views inside the SSB, these have sometimes been adopted by individual members of the organisation and included in a wider extremist framework connecting ‘traditional values’ with discriminatory, homo-/xenophobic and misogynist world-views. Although, as proven by the chosen case study, the organisation is ready to take measures to identify and suppress such radical voices, singular actors can take advantage of the communicative means of the SSB to effectively disseminate radical ideologies by reaching a wider audience and reinforcing a polarised environment inside and outside separatist groups.