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Domani more than just another newspaper for Italy's De Benedetti

ROME, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Veteran businessman Carlo De Benedetti launched a new Italian newspaper on Tuesday, looking to defy a slump in media sales, and show his sons there is still a future in the news business.

Domani (Tomorrow) promises to be a liberal, politically independent daily, which hopes to raise the bulk of its revenues through subscriptions to its online edition.

“There will be a particular emphasis on social inequality,” De Benedetti, 85, said on La7 television. “It will always be on the side of those who have less and always cast a critical gaze on those in power, without any prejudices.”

The birth of the Rome-based paper, which has a 15-strong newsroom and a team of investigative reporters, comes as daily sales of Italian newspapers have collapsed to an average 691,000 in 2019 from 2.19 million in 2000, DataMediaHub figures show.

De Benedetti, the former owner of one of Italy’s leading dailies, la Repubblica, is the sole shareholder in Domani, which has working capital of 10 million euros ($11.9 million), but has said he will subsequently transfer ownership to a foundation.

The industrialist is still smarting at the decision last year by his two sons to sell the family media company GEDI, which owns la Repubblica and La Stampa.

“I consider it a disgraceful decision,” he said. “I taught them from a young age not to sell gifts. And since I gifted them the company, they should not have sold it.” ($1 = 0.8409 euros) (Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Alexander Smith)