Italian journos create news blackout

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ROME -- A last-ditch attempt to avert an Italian radio and television media strike failed Friday, and print journalists have walked off the job in support, creating the likelihood of a near-total news blackout in Italy.

Italian print journalists said they will not return until Monday. Some radio and television journalists plan to stay away for those same days, while the official two-day radio and television strike begins Monday.

The radio and television journalist strike was called for on Dec. 9, in order to protest contract terms. The journalists are lobbying for higher base wages, greater compensation for overtime and better benefits. The current contract expires at the end of the year.

The labor agreement covering print journalists does not expire until the end of next year, but they announced Friday that they would join in the labor stoppage in support of their TV and radio colleagues.

Some newspapers in Italy said they will continue to publish over the weekend, albeit with wire copy and articles that carry no bylines.

The Italian media is in the midst of a long slowdown, and companies insist they cannot afford a dramatic increase in costs.
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