Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
The Listening Post

Italy’s media overhaul?

Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is out, but will media reforms begin in Italy?

Two electoral losses, numerous parliamentary crises and a slew of sex scandals … but what eventually brought Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, down was the Eurozone debt crisis. He resigned from office on November 12.

Berlusconi has held power in Italy for 10 of the last 17 years. But he was never just the country’s prime minister. He is the third richest man in Italy, with a personal fortune of $6bn and much of that wealth he has earned through his extensive media holdings. His company Mediaset owns 50 per cent of Italy’s TV market and he also has interests in print media. This media influence increased when he was in power – the government controlled two of the three state-run media TV channels.

But with Berlusconi no longer prime minister, how soon before Italy can create a legal framework that can prevent another Berlusconi from happening? Our News Divide this week starts in Rome, the dramatic sign off from Berlusconi and the options Italy has for a reformed media space.

In our Newsbytes this week: A social media activist is the latest victim in Mexico’s war on drugs; China’s latest online censorship regulations target journalists; Another Iranian is arrested by the authorities accused of working for BBC Persian; and Reuters’ man in Yemen comes under fire for his close links to President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Fifty years ago Germany made an international call for help, post-war industry was booming and the country desperately needed manpower. The year 1961 saw an influx of Turkish migrant workers and much to German surprise, many Turks settled – creating its largest minority group. The German media has not exactly been kind to the Turks, in fact, negative stereotyping, across all media platforms, might well be said to have hindered integration.

The story was back in the headlines this time last year when a German politician published a damming account of the negative influence Turks are having on German society. Thilo Sarrazin, his book, and its sentiments got a lot of play in the German media, making its impartiality all too evident. The Listening Post’s Flo Phillips takes a look at the rough ride German Turks get in the country’s media.

A sure way to get a million of hits on YouTube is to create a cute cat video. Even people who do not like cats, like cat videos. The demand online is so great that it was only a matter of time before someone stepped in to satisfy it. Cue Kittywood Studios. It is the corporate giant behind all those cute cat videos that went viral. OK, that is not true but it is a funny concept, so we made it our Internet Video of the Week. We hope you enjoy the show. 


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