Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Bersani, Berlusconi cross swords over La7 sale

English
© ANSA

(see related story)
Rome, February 19 - Centre-left leader Pier Luigi
Bersani on Tuesday warned of the risk of a lack of pluralism in
the Italian media after a man linked to Silvio Berlusconi sealed
a deal to buy independent TV network La7.
Referring to the deal by Urbano Cairo - owner of publishing
and media company Cairo Communication and a former business
associate of ex-premier Berlusconi's - to buy La7 from Telecom
Italia, Bersani said that if he were premier, he would examine
the deal's ramifications thoroughly.
Bersani said if he were at the helm of government he would
make sure the deal would not create any ''conflicts of
interest'' or ''dominating positions''.
Berlusconi, who is leading the centre right ahead of Sunday
and Monday's vote, replied that Bersani's words were like a
''mafia warning''.
''He (Bersani) said wait to sell because if we are the
government we will intervene to do I don't know what to
Mediaset, so that La7 will be worth more,'' Berlusconi added.
Bersani countered that in his remarks he did not mentioned
Berlusconi.
''It's curious because every time someone talks about rules
Berlusconi gets offended,'' Bersani said.
Ever since entering politics, Berlusconi, who controls the
Mediaset media empire, has been accused of abusing his control
of television channels to promote his own goals.
The accusations have been particularly strong in the
instances when Berlusconi was the head of government, which
critics claimed gave him control over Italy's state-owned RAI
networks, the main nationally-broadcast alternatives to
Berlusconi's own channels.
La7, which has been a drain on Telecom Italia, was
considered one of the last independent broadcasters with a
national reach.
Its acquisition by Cairo, who began his career working at
Berlusconi's advertising group Publitalia, is generating
accusations that it will essentially become another Berlusconi
mouthpiece.
Berlusconi tried to quell the critiques Tuesday.
''I have not had a relationship with Urbano Cairo for
several years. He was my assistant and then he became an
entrepreneur and it's been a while since I last heard him,''
Berlusconi commented.

photo: Urbano Cairo

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