OSCE raps Italian PM over newspaper legal actions

21st September 2009, Comments 0 comments

The body's media freedom representative, Miklos Haraszti, expressed concern that the right-wing leader is seeking three million euros in damages from left-wing dailies La Repubblica and L'Unita.

Vienna -- The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Sunday urged Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to drop legal action against two Italian newspapers which criticised the scandal-plagued premier.

The body's media freedom representative, Miklos Haraszti, expressed concern that the right-wing leader is seeking three million euros (4.4 million dollars) in damages from left-wing dailies La Repubblica and L'Unita.

"The persistent posing of questions, even of a partisan nature, is an important tool of the media's corrective function," Haraszti wrote in a letter to Berlusconi.

"The right of the public to know inevitably includes the media's right to ask," added the OSCE official.

The premier's complaints concern articles published in July and August, which questioned whether his conduct was suitable for government leader and accused him of threatening media freedom in Italy.

Berlusconi has been dogged in recent months by scandals over his private life, from questions over his relationship with an aspiring teen model to and allegations involving call girls.

AFP/Expatica

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