All Berlusconi, all the time

The Italian president can be on TV pretty much whenever and however he wants, it seems: Berlusconi is due to appear later on Tuesday on a show about the consignment of some 100 temporary homes to victims of the earthquake that devastated central Italy in April. A talk show on which Berlusconi is due to ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
580850_090916_berlusconi2.jpg
580850_090916_berlusconi2.jpg
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is interviewed during the RAI 1 television programme "Porta a Porta" on September 15, 2009 in Rome. Berlusconi has been plagued by scandals since his wife announced in May that she would divorce him after he attended a young model's 18th birthday. AFP PHOTO / Andreas Solaro (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

The Italian president can be on TV pretty much whenever and however he wants, it seems:

Berlusconi is due to appear later on Tuesday on a show about the consignment of some 100 temporary homes to victims of the earthquake that devastated central Italy in April.

The Italian president can be on TV pretty much whenever and however he wants, it seems:

Berlusconi is due to appear later on Tuesday on a show about the consignment of some 100 temporary homes to victims of the earthquake that devastated central Italy in April.

A talk show on which Berlusconi is due to appear, “Porta a Porta” usually airs late at night on state broadcaster RAI channel 1 but has been moved up to give it a bigger audience.

RAI executives then pulled the plug on “Ballaro”, a rival talk show whose guests are often critical of Berlusconi, while Matrix, a talk show on a private network owned by the Berlusconi family, was also postponed.

Giuseppe Giulietti, an opposition parliamentarian, denounced the changes as proof that virtually all Italian broadcasters were forced to “genuflect before the sole master”.

The Ballaro episode was to have also discussed the earthquake reconstruction and Matrix, ironically, was to have discussed freedom of information in Italy.

Italy’s leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera, said both RAI and Mediaset executives had acted like “amateurs” falling all over themselves to please their ultimate boss, Berlusconi.

Berlusconi owns all of Italy’s private TV networks and appointed the directors of the state-run RAI. Earlier this month, he said it was “unacceptable” for RAI journalists to criticize him.

ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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