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In early 2009 the deeply controversial Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, launched a campaign to tighten his control of the country’s press. Beset in scandals relating to adulteress affairs, allegations of sexual assault, business corruption and political patronage, the populist politician sought to silence his journalistic critics by intimidating them. As the UK’s Independent newspaper noted at the time, to say that Berlusconi:

“…would like to control the Italian media, and to a large extent actually does, is hardly news. But last week saw him trying to rein in the foreign press too, and finding it rather more difficult.

Berlusconi is a media magnate who owns three of Italy’s national TV channels and, as prime minister, has a dominant influence over the public broadcaster, RAI. He and his family own a couple of daily papers, one of the two main news weeklies and the country’s biggest book publisher, Mondadori. He…

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