The Italian communications system is supervised or owned by the government. In 1999 there were 25 million mainline telephones in use and 20.5 million mobile cellular phones. Post offices and telegraph offices also are operated by the government. Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI), a government corporation, broadcasts on three radio and three television networks. Until 1976, RAI had a broadcasting monopoly, but since then, numerous private radio and television stations have begun operating. Advertising appears on RAI television, two of the three RAI radio networks, and on many private stations. As of 1999 there were 135 AM and 28 FM radio stations and 6,317 television stations (including over 5,000 low-powered, public channels. In 2000, there were 878 radios and 494 television sets per 1,000 people. The same year, there were about 180 personal computers in use for every 1,000 people, with 93 Internet service providers serving about 19 million users in 2001.
The major daily newspapers (with their political orientations and estimated 2002 circulations) are as follows:
|Corriere della Sera (Milan)||Independent||868,200|
|La Repubblica (Rome)||Left-wing||754,900|
|La Stampa (Turin)||Liberal||536,200|
|Il Sole-24 Ore (Milan)||NA||455,451|
|Il Giornale (Milan)||Independent||351,790|
|Il Messaggero (Rome)||Left of center||337,100|
|La Nazione (Florence)||Right-wing||213,900|
The periodical press is becoming increasingly important. Among the most important periodicals are the pictorial weeklies— Oggi, L'Europeo, Epoca, L'Espresso, and Gente.
Italy enjoys a free press, with vigorous expression of all shades of opinion. The majority of papers are published in northern and central Italy, and circulation is highest in these areas. Rome and Milan are the most important publication centers. A considerable number of dailies are owned by the political parties, the Roman Catholic Church, and various economic groups. In general, the journalistic level of the Italian papers is high, and two dailies, Milan's Corriere della Sera and Turin's La Stampa , enjoy international respect.
The law provides for freedom of speech and the press, and the government is said to respect these rights in practice.
As of 1996, there were almost five million personal computers; in 1998 there were 56 Internet hosts per 1,000 population in Italy.