October 04, 2009

Italian demonstrators call for press freedom

Press TV - October 4, 2009 07:13:53 GMT

Italians in their tens of thousands rallied in Rome
to protest against a recent 'government' lawsuit
seen as an encroachment of media autonomy.

Large crowds gathered in the Italian capital on Saturday in an effort to help reverse a new 'government' court case pressed by the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi against a number of the country's newspapers that published details of the premier's scandal-hit private life.

The protesters demanded the withdrawal of the government bid which they see as a means to silence the independent media.

"I think that we have to say loudly that we want free information and free access to network(s) of information," a trade unionist participating in the rally told Press TV.

Meanwhile other press freedom supporters backed the latest demonstrations and called on the Italian government to allow the 'free' flow of information in the European country.

In an interview with the Press TV, Jean-Francois Julliard, a member of the Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based nongovernmental organization that advocates media independence, said that since Berlusconi controls a number of news outlets in Italy, his latest court case against autonomous newspapers creates a "conflict of interest" in the broadcasting business as the head of the Italian government could use his "direct influence" in order to "choose programs" to be aired.

Berlusconi filed the lawsuit against the media after some Italian news outlets in the catholic-dominated country published records of the premier's sexual adventures with 'underage' girls and a 'paid escort,' in the wake of his troubled nuptial life.

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