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Critics slam Berlusconi's media control

Oct. 4, 2009 at 11:34 AM   |   Comments

ROME, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Critics of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's domination of the Italian media claim the situation is stifling free speech in the country.

Some 300,000 Italians took to the streets of Rome Saturday to denounce Berlusconi's control of Italy's media and its politics, contending he has become less tolerant of dissent, Euronews.net reported.

The Web site said the biggest cheers of the day went to Roberto Saviano, who has gained fame by risking his life to report on the Camorra mafia family. Saviano reportedly said: "Here political police don't go around closing newspapers or arresting reporters, but we're fighting for a freedom of the press that allows journalists to work in peace without fear. What's happened in the last few days shows an ancient truth; that truth and power never match, thanks."

Berlusconi, who controls three over-the-air state media networks, three privately held ones, the country's biggest publisher and a weekly news magazine, is moving to sue several foreign publications for their reporting of scandals in which the prime minister has been linked to prostitutes, Euronews.net said.

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