The woman in the eye of the escort storm in Italy, Patrizia D’Addario, has appeared on state television Rai Due to give her side of the story.
She confirmed she believed Silvio Berlusconi knew she was a prostitute before hiring her and some friends to provide company for himself and visitors to his homes, and that she had been offered a European parliamentary seat before the offer was withdrawn. But the real news is the backlash the show has already sparked, and the fears it raises over the Italian prime minister’s tolerance of any media he does not own. Last week a paper owned by Berlusconi’s brother, Il Giornale, called on people to boycott paying their TV licence after the RAI’s critical coverage of the latest Berlusconi controversy. The state broadcaster’s contract is about to be renewed, and it will include a new clause banning “grandstanding and partisan coverage”. In 2002 Berlusconi accused the show’s host, Michele Santoro, of “criminal” use of the airwaves, and he disappeared from the channel for five years. Now some are wondering if the freedom of the press will survive this scandal.