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If only we Italians had the BBC

Britons should thank their lucky stars for the BBC, says Paolo Garimberti in La Reppublica. Take it from me, an Italian stuck with terrible media – having a reliable news source is a blessing, especially in a pandemic. “Covid has accentuated the merits and defects of public services”, and the real winners have been companies that embraced the digital world. While Italian media is largely confined to TV and newspapers, the BBC has made a proper effort to go online – from churning out millennial-friendly podcasts, to creating the online fake-news detector Reality Check.  

These are savvy and essential moves, particularly for the social media-obsessed younger generation, “who have a limited attention span [and] easily fall prey to fake news”. The truth is that if news wants to stand a chance, it must compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Amazingly, the BBC has managed it; last year 90% of Brits used the Beeb each week, and a reported 56% of 18- to 25-year-olds rely on it for news. That’s no small feat – Italy can only dream of having something similar. 

Why it matters

Brits are the fifth least likely nationality to believe misinformation online, according to a study by Zurich University. It’s thanks to the BBC, says Max Hastings in Bloomberg. For all its flaws, the corporation is vital to keep the UK on an even keel: “In an age when truth is fighting a vital battle against falsehood… it is a jewel.”

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