[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Top Italian TV news reader quits
Lilli Gruber reporting from Baghdad (Picture: Rai)
Lilli Gruber resigned after criticising Berlusconi over his media influence
A leading television journalist in Italy has resigned from her job, after criticising Prime Minister Silvio 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.

Never, before now, has there been such a temptation in Rai... to mould all information in the shape of the parliamentary majority and the government
Lilli Gruber
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.

Profile: Silvio Berlusconi
02 Jul 03  |  Europe
Country profile: Italy
18 Nov 03  |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific