March 18: The Country relives a year of pain

The Country reflects on a year of pain. AstraZeneca: “an affair handled without rationality”. US-Russia tensions over Biden’s accusations against Putin.

News from 15 to March 19.

The AstraZeneca vaccine dominated the news this week, with the temporary halt administering the vaccine and the subsequent reassurances from the EMA occupying 15 prime-time news broadcasts between Monday and Thursday. Thursday La7 news is the only one to express an explicit comment on the vaccination halt, observing that the whole affair – born because of 25 cases of suspected thrombosis on 20 million vaccinated – was “managed without the appropriate rationality”. Thus pointing out that the damage done to the trust of citizenship will be challenging to restore.

In the evening of Thursday, the commemoration of the Italian victims of Covid shared the headlines with the EMA verdict on the safety of Astrazeneca. Many magazines cover with images of the sad parade of military trucks in Bergamo last year reconstruct a tough year of battles and sacrifices in a war that has claimed most of its victims among the elderly. Berlusconi’s speeches were given a lot of space in the Mediaset TV news, with Tg4 claiming that it was “thanks to Forza Italia” that the day of commemoration was established.

The headlines focused on the numbers of the positive and the forecasts on the peak of the third wave. Friday’s headlines were all about the support bill’s approval and the intervention of Prime Minister Draghi.

Relatively limited space is given to “party politics”, with just five mentions in the headlines to the new Pd secretary Letta. In contrast, Salvini’s comments on the divisive “ius soli” are mentioned in the lineup on Tg5 and Tg La7. There were five mentions of Gualtieri’s candidacy for Mayor of Rome, which has now been withdrawn, while the “surprise” withdrawal of the centre-right candidate Bertolaso received two mentions.

There was ample coverage of the Eni trial, with its executives acquitted after eight years of the charge of having paid a considerable bribe for the concession of a prosperous site off the Nigerian coast (5 headlines plus an in-depth report by La 7). The Tg5 news on Friday was harsh in its judgement of the acquittal of the politicians accused in the “crazy expenses” trial in the Liguria region, criticising the phenomena of “mal-justice”, mentioning “destroyed lives” and too many enquiries that end with “nothing done”. News Mediaset’s in-depth analysis of delays and shortcomings in the vaccination campaign in Lombardy is also interesting.

The sudden rise in tensions between the US and Russia following President Biden’s statements – who in an interview called Putin a murderer – attracts 14 headlines.

On Thursday, Less taken up was the calmer, but no less vicious, the Russian leader’s response.  La7 news recalls, however, the long list of murders in Russia that are not investigated. In its tenth year since the beginning of the conflict, the drama of Syria is the subject of in-depth coverage on Monday for Tg3 news.


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