The Italian Defense is outlawed and snubbed orders?

(To Vasco Monteforte)

The 7 of June 2000, when it was published, generated much clamor among professionals and professionals in the field of communication and public information. They called it revolutionary and at the same time it was immediately considered the milestone of a new course in public information and institutional communication, which would bring the public administration to the service of citizens.

In fact, the law 150 / 2000 consecrated the work done by the numerous press offices of the public administration1 as a journalistic work and therefore subject to the rules and laws in the press. In essence, it enshrined that journalists should work as journalists as experts and public information professionals. It is precisely starting from this assumption and due to the fact that Online Defense is an interlocutor of the press offices of the Defense sector, we asked ourselves the question: eighteen years later, what is the situation today in that part of the Public Administration constituted by the Armed Forces, the General Staff of Defense and the Department of Defense itself?

At the time the 150 / 2000 Act came into force, simply because the law established that the work of the press offices was journalistic work, it implicitly assumed that those who had been working in the press offices for years had actually done journalistic work . A transitional period of 24 months was established, starting with the publication of the decree implementing the law, in which the public administrations would have to regularize the personnel who worked at least 5 years in such structures. The regularization would have ended with the registration of such professionals in the Register of Journalists, starting from the list of Publicists in the various Regional Registers, following courses recognized and sponsored by the National Order of Journalists (OdG) and the National Federation of Press (FNSI), through FORMEZ, the School of Public Administration (now SNA National School of Public Administration) or specialized Schools and Universities in the field of Communication and Journalism.

It must be acknowledged that some of the most wise Public Administrations, including many military institutions, provided for regularizing the staff of their press offices, even before the Presidential Decree no. 422 of 21 September 2001, that is the Regulation containing the rules for the identification of the professional titles of the personnel to be used by the public administrations for information and communication activities and the discipline of training interventions in line with L.150 / 2000 .

Both these military administrations were foresight, the Navy was among the first to employ in its press office officers and non-commissioned officers who were also journalist journalists, then with the use of the selected reserve were also integrated professional journalists, followed, on this path, later also by the General Staff of Defense and the other Armed Forces, how much today they appear to be non-compliant with the legislative provisions foreseen by L.150 / 2000. Today, we regret to note it, but in reality it is a phenomenon that we have seen for some years and is the reason for this article, the professionals of the time, military and journalists, for reasons also legitimate and linked to the professional progression there each military, in most cases they were replaced by unqualified colleagues for this sector and this with serious damage, in our humble opinion, especially in the public information sector. To be even clearer we refer to those professionals in the sector who must have relationships with fellow journalists from the public media.

This we find, not to make a sterile controversy, but in light of what happened in recent years, where more and more was witnessed to a public information service piloted and not at the service of citizens as provided for by L.150 / 2000. We have witnessed a management of public information that we would call, at least original and curious, where some journalists were invited because they were welcome and others excluded because they were "less ductile". It seems clear that after the first phase of amazement, many others of embarrassment and others of others followed obvious propaganda, therefore not of public information and this has been favored, in our opinion, also by a management of public information made not by insiders but by highly valid military personnel but compliant with the Head of duty.

And the citizens? That is the public that the legislator had identified as the main beneficiary of the public administration service of public administration, what role has it assumed in recent years? According to us in this system of public information so strongly conditioned by the will of the Chief on duty citizens have been a recipient to convince, or to use a verb a bit 'stronger, to be conditioned, definitely not to inform.

So in the light of all this and above all confident that this new political course has presented itself as the Government of change we ask ourselves, turning this same question to the Minister of Defense, because in this sector of public information things are not right, starting from the same Dicastery and going down in the Major States of the Armed Forces, going to use in the press offices those officers , and there are many, registered journalists or journalistic and related study courses?

We understand that training staff in the specific journalistic sector is a bit 'cumbersome for a military institution, even if not impossible, given the numerous military publications and institutional sites, some of which registered as online newspapers. The problem is, if anything, that both the press offices and the magazines are entrusted to journalists, so that they can then certify the authors of the articles for the legal purposes and to register with the regional orders of the journalists themselves. This would allow the Defense to be able to form part of its staff as a journalist and thus have its own autonomy. We do not believe that the OdG may have something against this.

We understand that the Armed Forces and the General Staff of Defense are very attentive to the training of the personnel in charge of public information (IP) and communication by making use of very qualifying courses such as those carried out at no cost to the administration, which is praised, at the SNA National School of Administration. This is a virtuous example that will comfort everyone.

I wanted to mention what are the positive aspects of the defense communication industry to make it clear that there is no prejudice and clear the field from what could be considered a criticism in itself for the military operating in this sector. It is not so. This article moves from necessity, increasingly perceived as urgent among journalists colleagues to have in the military institutions of the interlocutors who help to carry out a journalistic work, which is then service for citizens. This is in line with and consistent with the inspiring philosophy of the 150 / 2000 Act, namely that the Public Administration has the duty to inform citizens and therefore information is framed as a service to the citizen.

The 150 / 2000 Law makes a clear difference between Public Information and Communication, separating them and entrusting the first to professionals in the sector who should preserve the characteristics of objectivity as much as possible. How to say propaganda is legitimate, it is allowed but it is part of the Communication, it should not pollute public information. To do this, I think it is necessary to see the top of the press offices and as professionals in the press offices, in our case military-journalists "every time", that is, personnel independent of the will of the top.

Is this a dream or a utopia? I do not know, I see it as a hope and if it is realized, it would give the certainty that the laws are really applied and something has really changed compared to the past. Not everything can be done right away but if at least in the upcoming imminent changes in this sector something goes that way it would be a great sign and it would meditate.


1to the 1 article, paragraph 2, of the legislative decree 3 February 1993, n. 29.

public administrations we mean all the administrations of the State, including schools and schools of all levels and educational institutions, companies and administrations of the autonomous state, regions, provinces, municipalities, mountain communities, and their consortia and associations, university institutions, autonomous social housing institutions, chambers of commerce, industry, crafts and agriculture and their associations, all national, regional and local non-economic public bodies, administrations, companies and service bodies national health

7 Law June 2000, n. 150

"Discipline of information and communication activities of public administrations"

published in the Official Gazette n. 136 of the 13 June 2000

Chapter I.


Art 1.

(Purpose and scope of application)

    1. The provisions of this law, implementing the principles governing the transparency and effectiveness of administrative action, regulate the information and communication activities of public administrations.

    2. For the purposes of this law, public administrations are those indicated in article 1, paragraph 2, of the legislative decree 3 February 1993, n. 29.
    3. The current legislation relating to the legal or mandatory publicity of public documents is reserved.
    4. In compliance with the rules in force on the subject of state secrecy, professional secrecy, protection of personal data privacy and in compliance with the conduct required by the deontological documents, those carried out in Italy are considered informational and institutional communication activities. or abroad by the subjects referred to in paragraph 2 and aimed at:

        a) information to the mass media, through press, audiovisual and telematic tools;

        b) external communication addressed to citizens, communities and other entities through all technical and organizational methods;
        c) internal communication carried out within each entity.

    5. The information and communication activities are, in particular, aimed at:
        a) illustrate and promote knowledge of the regulatory provisions, in order to facilitate their application;

        b) illustrate the activities of the institutions and their functioning;
        c) promote access to public services, promoting knowledge;
        d) to promote broad and in-depth knowledge on issues of significant public and social interest;
        e) to favor internal processes of simplification of procedures and modernization of equipment as well as knowledge of the start and the course of administrative procedures;
        f) promote the image of administrations, as well as that of Italy, in Europe and in the world, giving knowledge and visibility to events of local, regional, national and international importance.

    6. The information and institutional communication activities referred to in this law are not subject to the limits imposed on advertising, sponsorships and offers to the public.

Art 2.

(Forms, tools and products)

    1. The information and communication activities of public administrations are carried out, as well as by means of programs for non-advertising institutional communication, also through advertising, distribution or promotional sales, billposting, the organization of events and participation in specialist reviews, fairs and congresses.

    2. Information and communication activities are implemented by means of any transmission suitable to ensure the necessary dissemination of messages, including through graphic and editorial tools, IT structures, branch functions, civic networks, integrated communication initiatives and multimedia telematic systems.
    3. With one or more regulations, to be communicated to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and to the Unified Conference referred to in article 8 of legislative decree no. 28, the public administrations ensure the dissemination of the methods and forms of communication of an advertising nature, in implementation of the regulations in force on the matter.

Art 3.

(Messages of social utility and public interest)

    1. The Presidency of the Council of Ministers determines messages of social utility or of public interest, which the concession holder of the public radio and television service can transmit free of charge. The transmission of messages of public interest provided for in this paragraph shall be reserved for times not exceeding two per cent of each hour of programming and one per cent of the weekly scheduling timetable for each network. Private, radio and television broadcasters have the right, where authorized, to use these messages for free passes.

    2. In the concessions for radio and television broadcasting, a reserve of time not exceeding one per cent of the weekly programming time is provided for the same purposes and according to the procedures set forth in the paragraph 1.
    3. Except as provided by this law and the provisions relating to non-advertising corporate communication, radio and television dealers and authorized companies may, for purposes of exclusive social interest, transmit messages of social utility.
    4. The messages referred to in paragraph 3 are not included in the calculation of the daily crowding indices nor in the calculation of the hourly crowding rates established by this article. The transmission time of the messages can not, however, occupy more than four minutes for each day of transmission per single concessionaire. These messages can be transmitted free of charge; if they were not, the price of communication spaces containing messages of social utility can not exceed fifty percent of the official list price indicated by the concessionaire.

Art 4.

(Professional training)

    1. The public administrations identify, within their own endowments, the personnel to be used for information and communication activities and plan training, according to training models identified by the regulation referred to in Article 5.

    2. The training activities are carried out by the Higher School of Public Administration, according to the provisions of the legislative decree 30 July 1999, n. 287, from specialized schools of other central administrations, from universities, with particular reference to degree courses in communication sciences and related subjects, from the Training and Studies Center (FORMEZ), as well as from public and private structures with training purposes that adopt models referred to in paragraph 1.

Art 5.


    1. With regulation to be issued, pursuant to article 17, paragraph 1, of law no. 23, and subsequent amendments, subject to agreement with the Unified Conference referred to in Article 1988 of Legislative Decree no. 400, within sixty days from the date of entry into force of this law, the qualifications for access by personnel to be used by the public administrations for information and communication activities are identified. The same regulation also provides and governs training and refresher courses for personnel who already carry out information and communication activities.

Art 6.


    1. In compliance with the regulations dictated by this Chapter and, where compatible, in compliance with the provisions of articles 11 and 12 of the legislative decree 3 February 1993, n. 29, and subsequent amendments, and related implementing provisions, the information activities are carried out through the spokesperson and the press office and those of communication through the office for relations with the public, as well as through similar structures such as the counters for the citizen. , the one-stop shops of the public administration, the multifunctional counters and the counters for businesses.

    2. Each administration defines, within the framework of its organization of offices and personnel and within the limits of available resources, the structures and services aimed at information and communication activities and their coordination, confirming, at the first application of this law, the communication and information functions to staff who already do them.

Art 7.


    1. The top management body of the public administration can be assisted by a spokesperson, even outside the administration, with tasks of direct collaboration for the purpose of relations of a political-institutional nature with the organs of information. The spokesman, appointed by the same body, can not, for the entire duration of the relevant office, exercise activities in the broadcasting, journalism, press and public relations sectors.

    2. The spokesperson is assigned an indemnity determined by the top management within the limits of the resources available specifically recorded in the financial statements by each administration for the same purposes.

Art 8.

(Public Relations Office)

    1. The activity of the public relations office is addressed to individual and associated citizens.

    2. The public administrations, within six months from the date of entry into force of this law, shall, in the exercise of their regulatory power, redefine the tasks and reorganize the offices for relations with the public according to the following criteria:

        a) guarantee the exercise of the rights of information, access and participation pursuant to the law of 7 August 1990, n. 241, and subsequent amendments;

        b) facilitate the use of the services offered to citizens, also by illustrating the regulatory and administrative provisions, and by providing information on the structures and tasks of the administrations themselves;
        c) promoting the adoption of telematic interconnection systems and coordinating civic networks;
        d) implement, by listening to citizens and internal communication, the processes for verifying the quality of services and the satisfaction of the same by users;
        e) ensure mutual information between the public relations office and the other structures operating in the administration, as well as between the public relations offices of the various administrations.

    3. In the public relations offices, the identification and regulation of professional profiles are entrusted to collective bargaining.

Art 9.

(Press offices)

    1. The public administrations referred to in article 1, paragraph 2, of the legislative decree 3 February 1993, n. 29, can equip themselves, even in associated form, with a press office, whose activity is primarily addressed to the mass media.

    2. The press offices are made up of personnel enrolled in the national register of journalists. This endowment of personnel is made up of employees of public administrations, also in positions of command or outside the role, or by personnel outside the public administration in possession of the qualifications identified by the regulation referred to in article 5, used in the manner referred to in article 7, paragraph 6, of the legislative decree 3 February 1993, n. 29, and subsequent amendments, within the limits of the resources available in the financial statements of each administration for the same purposes.
    3. The press office is managed by a coordinator, who assumes the role of head of the press office, who, on the basis of the directives given by the management's top management body, oversees the connections with the media, ensuring the highest degree of transparency, clarity and timeliness of communications to be provided in matters of interest to the administration.
    4. Coordinators and members of the press office can not carry out professional activities in the broadcasting, journalism, press and public relations sectors for the entire duration of their duties. Possible exceptions may be provided for by collective bargaining as per paragraph 5.
    5. In the press offices, the identification and regulation of professional profiles are entrusted to collective bargaining in the context of a special bargaining area, with the participation of organizations representing the category of journalists. The implementation of this paragraph must not result in new or greater charges borne by public finance.

Art 10.

(Final provision)

    1. The provisions of this Chapter constitute fundamental principles pursuant to Article 117 of the Constitution and also apply to the regions with special statute and to the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano within the limits and in compliance with the statutes and the related implementing rules.

Chapter II.


Art 11.

(Communication programs)

    1. In compliance with the provisions of Chapter I of this law and article 12 of the legislative decree 3 February 1993, n. 29, and subsequent amendments, as well as the directives given by the President of the Council of Ministers, the state administrations annually draw up the program of communication initiatives that they intend to carry out in the following year, including the projects referred to in article 13, on the basis of methods of the Department for Information and Publishing of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. The program is transmitted by November of each year to the same Department. Communication initiatives not included in the program can be promoted and carried out only for particular and contingent needs which occurred during the year and are promptly communicated to the Information and Publishing Department.

    2. For the implementation of communication programs, the Department for Information and Publishing provides in particular to:

        a) perform functions of guidance and advice center for state administrations for the purpose of developing programs and procedures. The Department can also provide organizational support to administrations that request them;

        b) develop adequate knowledge of public communication problems in the administrations;
        c) to stipulate, with the concessionaires of advertising space, framework agreements which define the general criteria for radio, television or press advertisements, as well as the relative tariffs.

Art 12.

(Communication plan)

    1. On the basis of the programs presented by the state administrations, the Information and Publishing Department annually prepares the communication plan, supplementing the plan referred to in article 12 of legislative decree 3 February 1993, n. 29, and subsequent amendments, which is approved by the President of the Council of Ministers.

    2. A copy of the approved plan is sent to the administrations. Each administration carries out the plan for the parts of specific competence, also availing itself of the collaboration of the Department for information and publishing. Within the 31 January of the year following the reference year, the Ministers transmit to the President of the Council of Ministers a report on what is provided for in this paragraph.

Art 13.

(Advertising communication projects)

    1. State administrations are required to send to the Department for information and publishing, for the purpose of formulating a prior opinion, communication projects of an advertising nature that provide for the dissemination of messages on mass media.

    2. The projects referred to in paragraph 1 must, in particular, contain information about the purpose of the communication, the financial coverage, the content of the messages, the recipients and the subjects involved in the implementation. Furthermore, the dissemination strategy must be specified with the methods and means deemed most suitable for achieving maximum communication effectiveness.
    3. For advertising communication campaigns, the State administrations take account, where possible, in relation to the type of message and the recipients, including Italian newspapers abroad.

Art 14.

(Project financing)

    1. The realization of the communication projects of an advertising nature of the State administrations, integrating the plan referred to in article 12 of the legislative decree 3 February 1993, n. 29, and subsequent amendments, deemed to be of particular social utility or public interest, is financed within the limits of the resources available in the budget for the responsibility center no. 17 "Information and publishing" of the forecast of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, meaning that the expenditure authorization referred to in article 5 of law no. 25.

Art 15.

(Competition procedures)

    1. For the realization of the institutional communication initiatives of an advertising nature, the choice of external professional subjects is made, also by way of derogation from the limits established by article 6 of the royal decree 18 November 1923, n. 2440, in compliance with the provisions of the legislative decree 17 March 1995, n. 157. For these purposes, with a regulation to be issued, on the proposal of the President of the Council of Ministers, pursuant to article 17, paragraph 1, of law no. 23, and subsequent amendments, within forty-five days from the date of entry into force of this law, the criteria for identifying the professional subjects to be invited to the selection procedures are established, as well as for determining the remuneration for the services provided. For these purposes, the criteria established on the matter by the Authority for communications guarantees are also considered.

Art 16.


    1. Article 5, paragraphs 6, 7 and 8, of law no. 25, and article 1987 of the law of 67 August 9, n. 6, and subsequent amendments.

(photo: Defense / Defense Online)