Mussolini Jolts Italian Editors

The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review/July 2, 1926


Must Limit Papers to Six Pages, Newest Fascist Order.

Revolutionary transformation of all Italian newspapers, so that nothing but the barest of facts of democratic happenings and virtually no foreign news may be printed, is the goal of the new fascist economy plan, of which the cabinet’s order reducing all newspapers to not more than six pages in the first step.

This intention is announced almost unanimously by the fascist newspapers in approving comments on the proposed changes. In addition to the elimination of detailed foreign correspondence, sporting, art and literary news, and accounts of court cases, particularly crimes, will gradually be dropped, the semi-official Tribune declares.

Fascist Editor Ironic

“We will have dry newspapers, restricted to the most essential comments,” says El Tevore, extreme fascist organ, adding ironically: “Also, we won’t know whether the new sect of worshipers of tapeworm started on the banks of the Potomac; we would not be able to read the prose of the special correspondents in Pernambuco.”

The Impero sees the cut in the size of newspapers as the work of a genius, declaring that daily journalism has become a scandalous waste of paper.

The Tribune says that fascism desires faithfulness to fundamental central ideas and brief, succinct basic considerations.

Discussing the newspapers outside the large cities, Signor Turati, secretary-general of the fascist party, said in the course of an interview:

“Each province cannot have more than one newspaper, in which will be published the party’s orders, and the political acts of fascism will be briefly illustrated; all the rest of the space will be devoted to things which are being constructed and work which is being carried out.”

Personal Journalism Doomed

Personal journalism, Turati declared, is doomed, and he asserted that fascism is determined to bring out the educational and the moral aspect of the press.

“I am also determined,” he continued, “to destroy the innumerable weeklies, which although dealing in national problems and spreading fundamental fascist ideas, represent solely the personal acidity and literary impatience of their editors.

“Some of our comrades have already set a good example by suffocating their own creatures. I will cite in an order of the day those following this example.”

The secretary general concluded by remarking: “We may have surprises to offer in this field.”

Nine-Hour Work Day

The lengthening by one hour of the laborers’ work day, is permitted in a new decree by the fascist government, which recently forbade strikes.

The decree is one of a series designed to strengthen the lire and offset last year’s unfavorable trade balance.

No new cafes, hotels or dance hall may be opened. New housing is restricted. The cabinet has authorized a fund of two million lire for prizes to encourage authors.

Restrictive measures even more severe than were prevalent during the world war days are still contemplated by the government, according to the semi-official Popolo di Romano. The sale of soft drinks, tea and coffee, as well as alcoholic beverages and of food of any kind, after 10 p.m., will be forbidden in forthcoming decrees, the paper says.

Even daytime coffee drinking will be hit by the imposition of a 300 lire direct tax on each coffee percolator in cafes, bars and restaurants.

New Mussolini Surprise

The newspapers today hail the decrees, which were entirely unexpected by the public, as another of Premier Mussolini’s strokes, characteristic for its surprise at the “opportune moment.”

Answering objections concerning the increase of the normal working day from eight to nine hours, Popolo di Roma says that it is preferable to use this method to prevent a possible economic crisis with its subsequent serious unemployment, than to drift along aimlessly.

(Source: Google News,,9388)