Journalists strike blacks out news in Italy

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ROME -- Italian newsstands were all but barren Friday and television news programming was temporarily off the air as Italian journalists went on strike in support of their colleagues at domestic news agencies who walked off the job to protest contract terms.

Domestic news agencies stopped working Wednesday and print journalists joined them a day later. On Friday, radio and television journalists joined the strike, leaving Italy with virtually no significant domestic news source. Only a few minor newspapers published Friday, and television and radio news reports were limited to a few minor bulletins based on non-Italian wire services and read by replacement staff.

The print journalist strike was to conclude Saturday morning, meaning the first post-strike newspapers would appear Sunday. Broadcast journalist were expected to return to the job early Sunday.

In Italy, most domestic journalists belong to trade unions, which negotiate collective contracts. The strike was sparked by a stalemate over terms in the new contract for new agencies. The main sticking point, according to news coverage of developments, involved pension contributions and trade union dues.

As of Friday, there was no word on whether or not the problems related to the contract issue had been solved.
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