Geldof’s LaStampa Causing A Stir

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Bob’s guest editing of today’s special Africa edition of La Stampa has caused quite a stir in Italy, particularly his interview with Prime Minister Berlusconi.

In the interview, Berlusconi apologised to Africa for not having kept Italy’s aid promise. La Stampa’s headline is: “Africa, I’m sorry”. Berlusconi promises to rectify his “mistake”. Bob pressed him on Italy’s record of only having provided three per cent of the aid for Africa he promised at the Gleneagles summit in 2005 and said his credibility as G8 host this week was at stake. We will be campaigning further on this in the coming days before the start of his L’Aquila G8 summit on Wednesday. We’ll be looking for concrete actions to show how he will turn Italy’s dismal record around.

But today’s La Stampa edition newspaper is about much more than just Italy’s aid record. Headlined “Africa the Opportunity” its aim is to present a different, more rounded image of Africa to Italian readers, to show all the diversity and vibrancy of the continent on Italy’s doorstep. The newspaper and its respected young editor Mario Calabresi have shown great commitment to the issue, publishing around 30 pages of African content today, and promising more in the week to come.

There are articles from 30 guest contributors covering a range of themes, from Archbishop Tutu’s sermon on the morality of promise-keeping, to Bono’s “Love letter to Italy” and Sophia Loren’s story of growing up with poverty and war. There’s a preview of President Obama’s upcoming Ghana trip, and pieces ranging on subjects as diverse as Africa’s potential for trade and investment, climate change, immigration, music, fashion, and football.

You can see them all, plus photos and video of Bob in action as editor at www.lastampa.it/Africa . There’s an English language section too. You can also read about Bob’s Berlusconi interview in this Reuters story.

-Helen Palmer

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