Wednesday, April 21, 2004

European Parliament Ministers Overcome Resistance To Put Spotlight On Media Concentration
Silvio Berlusconi’s media empire will come under fire on Thursday despite efforts by the EP’s centre right to sideline the issue.

A report by Dutch MEP Johanna Boogerd-Quaak on media freedom singled out the Italian premier’s grip on the public and private media as a cause for concern

Although it has no legal weight, the report threatens political embarassment for the Italian centre-right in the run-up to the June European elections.


Leader of the European Liberals Graham Watson said the report reflected legitimate public concern about freedom of information.

“Freedom of information is not possible without a free media and neither is a functioning democracy,” he said.

“Concentration of ownership is reflected in a narrowing of views.”

But speaking earlier in plenary, Watson stressed that the report was not just about Berlusconi.

Spain is also held to account for “goverment pressure” on public service broadcaster TVE which resulted in “blatant distortion” and “ignoring of the facts” following the Madrid March 11 terrorist attacks.