Italian state broadcaster RAI will not screen the upcoming final of the Miss Italia beauty pageant on TV. The move is a break with a 25-year-old tradition and commentators have suggested it reveals a shift in how women are perceived in Italy and how they are portrayed in the media. The final is due to be held in September 2013. Viewing figures of the Miss Italia final are reported to have declined in recent years and RAI director Luigi Gubitosi says the format is “outdated”. RAI’s decision has sparked debate in Italy. Italian news agency ANSA reports that the President of the Chamber of Deputies Laura Boldrini praised the broadcaster for its “modern and civilised choice”, saying: “Only 2% [of women] in TV express opinions, speak. The rest are mute, sometimes undressed.” Boldrini added: “Italian girls should be able to go on television without parading with a number. They have other talents.” Others seemed resistant to assertions that the show is dated. Italian entertainer Rosario Fiorello said: “[Miss Italia] never hurt anyone. On the contrary, it brought good to a lot of beautiful, talking women, who thanks to the contest found work.” The organiser of the pageant, Patrizia Mirigliani, has suggested that RAI radically modernise the format of the show rather than axe it from the nation’s screens.
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