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Italy. Professor Monti's first year in office. The end of "Videocracy"?

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Until quite recently, therefore, "Videocracy" was alive and well in Italy, and the need to "appear" was universally felt, at all levels of society as the key to success, especially in politics.

This leads directly to a critical consideration on the possible risk of over-exposure, which could, in the long run, threaten to alienate the very people who are supposed to be attracted and fascinated,

There are  credible indications that this could well be the case in Italy.   "Videocracy",  brought to an unprecedented level by Berlusconi, seems to have peaked, with the apparent effect of  turning public opinion away from politics and creating an aura of indifference and contempt. The first sign of a changing reality came as early as May of 2011 when the ruling party, in spite of a massive TV campaign, unprecedented even in Italy, and personally led by Berlusconi himself, lost some vital local elections (the  key cities of Milan and Naples falling to the opposition) and was unable to prevent  a substantial vote against government positions in several referendums held at about the same time. The diminishing effect of Television is also indicated by the incredible and growing percentage (over 30%) of people who, according to reliable polls, do not intend to vote in the next elections, and this in a country in which a voter turnout below 85% was usually considered disappointing. 

Other indications are the catastrophic fall in the former Prime Minister's personal popularity and the unpredicted growth of the unabashedly populist "anti-political" movement led by  erstwhile comedian Beppe Grillo who now leads what could possibly be the second largest political party in the country. It is significant that Grillo himself, who, after all, has his roots in show business and whose political movement is on a constant upswing, has forbidden his candidates from appearing on the numerous "talk shows" on Italy's public and private TV channels.

A further, and rather significant question arises from these considerations, and  people are  wondering if "Videocracy's" ultimate effect will be the end of the democratic process as it has been known until now with, perhaps, a return to a quasi-Grecian  model based essentially on local politics, and with the internet (Twitter and Social Networks) substituting the Agora. This is not a vain or otiose question, but a consideration which deserves  attention and careful reflection.

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I am a former, now retired, senior Italian diplomatic officer. I have spent many years (over 25) in Central Asia (sixteen in Afghanistan).

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