RAI's new Donna admires female format

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ROME -- Italy's senate on Friday passed a motion creating RAI-Donna (RAI-Woman), a new production entity that will create programming that portrays women in a positive light for the three networks operated by state broadcaster RAI.

The creation of RAI-Donna is part of a larger effort to improve the image of women on local television, as Italian lawmakers also called on advertisers and all broadcasters to take steps to ensure that female characters on television do not cast the gender in a negative light.

Italian television is regularly criticized for the way it treats women, who often appear on screen in bikinis, low-cut dresses or miniskirts. Women's rights groups charge that talk shows include few female experts and telefilms offer few substantive roles for women.

"Young girls need positive role models just as much as young boys do," the group Le Donne said in a press release complaining about the state of Italian television.

Much of the plans for RAI-Donna have yet to be announced, though a spokesman for the Ministry of Communication said the information will be released in the coming weeks. The spokesman said the first program produced by RAI-Donna is expected to air next year.
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