Emma Bonino advertising 'illegal,' rival claims

One of the boards at Termini station.

ROME – Large television screens at Italy’s major train stations advertising Emma Bonino’s +Europa party have come under fire, with claims that they breach Italy’s strict electoral laws on advertising and speculating on the possible sources of funding for the group.

 The LED screens show short videos with images of Bonino followed by the party’s symbol, but according to Maurizio Acerbo, secretary of the European Communist-Left Refoundation and a candidate for the leftist Potere al Popolo, the adverts are illegal.

 Acerbo has presented evidence to Rome’s Mayor, Virgina Raggi and to the Municipal Police “to signal the illegal electoral advert in at least two points in the city of Rome,” noting the screen at Termini and Tiburtina stations.

 The candidate considers these screens to breach Article 6 of law 212 from 1956 which bans certain types of fixed advertising 30 days prior to voting. Acerbo also asked voters to “ask themselves also where all the money came from that Bonino spends in this campaign.”

 However, a spokesperson for +Europa said the boards were perfectly justified, pointing to an interpretation of that law that exempts adverts of an “audio-visual” nature. Acerbo’s comments, they argued, were motivated by politics, rather than fact.  

 Benedetto Della Vedova, speaking on behalf of the party to Il Fatto Quotidiano, also made it clear that the adverts had been financed exclusively from fund raising on behalf of the party and that “reporting will take place in the terms and ways stipulated by the law.”

 Indeed, Il Fatto also discovered that Italy’s electoral laws mean that the cost of the screens is subject to as much as a 65 percent discount, in order to provide fair access for all parties to advertising space.