Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has scored a kind of victory in the European Parliament. Resolutions calling attention to freedom of the media have failed to pass. The key text had the backing of Liberals, Socialists, Greens and Communists. But Berlusconi’s allies, the conservative European People’s Party, mustered a one-vote majority — three in another case. In all, eight separate resolutions on media freedoms “in Italy and the European Union” failed to carry.
European critics of Berluscon had attempted to start European probes into media ownership and control. Berlusconi owns Italy’s largest private broadcaster, Mediaset, and indirectly controls the state-run broadcaster, RAI. The prime minister’s supporters called the resolutions part of a personal witch-hunt and interference into Italy’s internal affairs. The country’s journalists’ union organised a protest earlier this month, accusing Berlusconi of trying to intimidate critics and manipulate press coverage. Tens of thousands of people turned out in Rome.