CITIZEN DIEGO: Diego Della Valle made a public appeal for freedom of the press Monday evening to Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, whom he praised as a well-respected figure of authority. “President Napolitano, we need to hear your voice,” the Tod’s chief said. “An important part of the Italian press is in danger of losing its editorial freedom.”

He was referring to the ongoing battle over the future of RCS Mediagroup, which owns the daily Corriere della Sera and counts Della Valle as a shareholder. Della Valle went on to say that his own interest in RCS did not stem from any personal ambitions; rather, “it is my firm conviction that in a democratic country the press must be independent and free to express its opinions free of any constraints or pressure.

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“What I would like to see, since there are no pure publishing houses available, would be a group of private, free Italian investors who have as their only goal making the company competitive again,” Della Valle added, noting that for this to happen, he and investors from Fiat, Intesa and Mediobanca would need to step back instead of strengthening their shares in the company.

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“Mr. President, the outcome of this matter does not just concern [RCS] but will be interpreted by many Italians as a strong signal to understand if there is truly a desire to change this country, modernizing and improving it, or if on the other hand we are willing to leave it in the hands of those who contributed greatly to reducing it to its current state,” Della Valle said. He concluded that faced with the deafening silence of politicians old and new on the future of RCS, Napolitano was perhaps the only person who could exert any influence on the matter.

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