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Berlusconi Completes “Military Occupation” of RAI

News, 26 February 2002


Defying complaints from opposition parties, the government of Italian prime minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi has appointed the new chairman of state-owned broadcast group RAI.

RAI is the only major competitor to Berlusconi’s own TV empire Mediaset. Italy’s governing parties are allowed to appoint three of the broadcaster’s five board members, raising fears that the Berlusconi administration would appoint yes-men, effectively handing control of 90% of the domestic TV market to the PM.

The government’s choice for chairman is Antonio Baldassarre, who, though a member of Berlusconi’s party, vowed to remain independent.

“I will not be at the service of any government,” insisted the new boss. “I think that for once there can be a change and that RAI can leave behind the usual political bickering that has marked it up until now.”

Such comments cut little ice with opposition parties, or indeed the outgoing chairman Roberto Zaccaria, who branded the appointment a “military occupation”.

Data sourced from: AdAgeGlobal.com; additional content by WARC staff