Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders recently ranked Italy at the bottom of the list for countries in the European Union on its press freedom index.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is not only Italy’s richest man, but also the unrivaled owner of a vast media empire. This combination of political power and personal ownership of a large sector of the private media in Italy has provoked questions about the independence of the Italian media.
By following the travails of some of the country’s leading critical voices — including Marco Travaglio, one of Italy’s most famous investigative journalists — The Prime Minister and the Press examines Berlusconi’s rise to prominence, and explores what happens to public debate when extreme wealth and political power converge with media dominance.
This story is especially timely, coinciding with Italy’s assumption of the Presidency of the European Union in July, 2003.