A scandal has erupted in Italy over a video that shows Italian peacekeepers targetting and exchanging fire with Iraqi Shi’ite rebels. The footage, shot by soldiers serving in Nassiriyah last year, was due to be screened last week during a popular satirical news programme on Silvio Berlusconi’s Italia 1 channel.
But the film was pulled at the last minute by the channel’s controlling group, Mediaset, which is owned by the Prime Minister. Amid claims of censorship, programme directors said the film did not accurately reflect the reality of the Italy’s military operations in Iraq. Italian troops can be heard congratulating themselves on killing what they call “a bastard Iraqi”. Since June 2003, some 3,000 Italian soldiers have been operating in Iraq under what the government describes as a humanitarian mission. More of the controversial film is scheduled to be screened on Italia 1 on Monday night as part of what Mediaset authorities say is a “serious and responsible journalistic programme”.