A furious row has broken out in the European parliament.
A number of right-wing Italian MEP’s are incensed that the chamber allowed a debate on press freedom in Italy to go ahead. The grouping see it as an attack on the country’s embattled Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Martin Schultz from the Socialists and Democrats said: “ Italy as far as I know, is the only democratic nation where the top media player is also the prime minister.” Mario Mauro a staunch supporter of Berlusconi accused the EU of “changing reality like Stalin.” Freedom House, a US based NGO, which monitors press freedom describes Italy as a country with a “partly free” press. Italy is now ranked 73rd, behind the West African country Benin and Israel in the league table of press freedom.