A leading television journalist in Italy has resigned from her job, after criticising Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi over his media influence.
Lilli Gruber resigned after criticising Berlusconi over his media influence
Lilli Gruber quit state broadcaster Rai, saying the corporation mainly reflected the government's views and Mr Berlusconi's "unresolved conflict of interest" hurt Italian democracy.
She says she will run in the European elections as an opposition candidate.
Mr Berlusconi denies his family's media empire presents a conflict of interest.
Lilli Gruber quits Rai after 20 years of service, during which she became one of its best-known faces with her authoritative style and grasp of current affairs.
She has recently reported from Iraq, and presented the channel's main evening news programme.
In her resignation letter, Ms Gruber accused her managers of turning their backs on Rai's long-held tradition of pluralism.
"Never, before now, has there been such a temptation in Rai - especially in its main news broadcast - to mould all information in the shape of the parliamentary majority and the government," she wrote on Tuesday.
"The absence of common rules, the anomalous concentration of power in the hands of one man and the obvious, unresolved conflict of interest that this has given rise to, hurts both broadcasting and the credibility of our democracy."
Rai management rejected her allegations as "wrong and ungenerous".
But Ms Gruber said she intended to wage a political battle over the matter at the European Parliament
, which has recently criticised Italy over its media ownership rules, if she is elected.
The Berlusconi family owns the country's three main private television channels - Rete 4, Italia 1, and Canale 5.
The prime minister also holds political influence at the board of state broadcaster Rai.
Through a holding company, Fininvest, Mr Berlusconi has press interests in the Panorama and Il Giornale papers, publishing interests at Mondadori publishing house and cinema rights.
A controversial media bill, removing a ban on one person owning more than two national broadcasting stations, was adopted by the parliament last year - but President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi rejected it.
If parliament passes it unchanged for a second time, the president would be obliged to sign it into law.