Keep Your Eyes Open Italians

Former editor of The Economist Bill Emmott - http://www.billemmott.com

There are nights when, after  a long and tiring day spent studying on my desk, I close the eyes and start thinking of the future of my country. I think of an era with no Bunga Bunga, no corruption, no conflict of interests, no Berlusconi.  I think of an Italy led by a strong and honest political coalition. But the dream doesn’t last long. As I realize I can’t visualize that country, I get my feet back on the ground and restart my readings. However, it seems somebody else can see that country. That’s Bill Emmott, former editor of The Economist, who has recently published a book about post-Berlusconi Italy:  Forza, Italia: Come Ripartire dopo Berlusconi ( Come on Italy, how to restart after Berlusconi). Continue reading

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Berlusconi Back on Trial

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi - Wikimedia Commons

Silvio Berlusconi is back on trial as yesterday afternoon Milan’s court announced restart of a fraud trial that had been suspended last April.

Mr Berlusconi is accused of fraud  in a trial concerning illegal purchase of TV rights by his family’s  company Mediaset. The first session is scheduled for 28 February.

According to prosecutors, Berlusconi’s company has illegally purchased TV rights from the USA. Financial transactions were carried out through several off-shore companies controlled by Mr Berlusconi. Continue reading


The Missing Facts

After success of The Missing Past and The Missing Judicial Immunity, a classic was back to Italian screens last Monday night. The Missing Facts, the thrilling adventure of an evil genius and his attempts to turn reality into a media show,  would be an hilarious story if it wasn’t  about  last Silvio Berlusconi’s TV stunt.

Last Monday Mr Berlusconi phoned TV programme L’Infedele after host Gad Lerner covered PM’s sex scandal. Berlusconi  violently attacked Lerner (he said the programme had been “disgusting” and conducted in a “repellent and abhorrent way”)  and after a two-minute monologue he ended up calling the programme an “unbelievable TV brothel”. Continue reading


Remember to Stay Alive

Last week was a hard one for Silvio Berlusconi. A decaying emperor  slave of his own vices, Mr Berlusconi’s struggling to save an empire that is falling to pieces.  After receiving warnings from the Vatican and  from an unusually explicit President of Republic Giorgio Napolitano, it seems his days are over. Though I’ve learned to preserve a disillusioned cynicism in these occasions, over the last days I couldn’t help asking myself:  “what if we get rid of him?”. Two pictures picked up from last week depict Mr Berlusconi’s legacy. The inauguration of a square named for statesman (and fugitive) Bettino Craxi and a statement from Berlusconi’s main ally Umberto Bossi unfold a system that has pervaded every level of the Italian culture, eventually corrupting the only defense conserved by the Italians: their memories. Continue reading


Shut Up Mr Sgarbi

Art critic and politician Vittorio Sgarbi - Wikimedia Commons

In the moment when Italian PM and champion of (his) justice Silvio Berlusconi was bravely fighting a new battle against Italian politicized magistrates, last Saturday somebody else in Italy decided to speak up for his rights. It was art critic and politician Vittorio Sgarbi, whose article on Il Giornale was undoubtedly a masterpiece, a legacy the readers of Berlusconi’s paper should preserve for the future generations. A couple of touching lines ( “there’s no difference between giving a blowjob and giving a lecture” and “to fuck is not an offence”) are enough to introduce the reader to Mr Sgarbi’s personal world and to his interior conflicts. Why does an “inconsistent enquiry” violate his rights to be interviewed about art? Why does he have to waste his time defending his ex-employer ( Mr Sgarbi has been MP under three of Berlusconi’s governments)? A new case of Italian servility. Continue reading


Berlusconi loses immunity from prosecution

Mr. Berlusconi faces three trials as yesterday afternoon Italian Constitutional Court amended his “legitimate impediment” law that had granted him immunity from prosecution.

Yesterday’s Constitutional Court meeting stated that part of the law passed by Berlusconi’s government last April is unconstitutional.

As a consequence, immunity from prosecution granted to Berlusconi and his ministers until October was cancelled.

Mr. Berlusconi is defendant in three trials that had been paralyzed by the law passed by his government in April. However his  trials on bribery and tax fraud (Mills, Mediaset, and Mediatrade) are now likely to restart. Continue reading


Berlusconi’s Film Empire

Silvio Berlusconi, media mogul and occasionally Italian PM, has been recently proclaimed emperor of the Italian Republic after a 100 million investment ensured him more than a fifth of  the Italian cinema market.

At the end of December Berlusconi’s company The Space acquired multiplex-chain Cinecity with a 100-milion investment. The company now covers a large portion of the Italian peninsula thanks to a 34-cinema structure. The business is  worth 200 million euros and makes up 21% of the Italian cinema market.

Though Berlusconi is the minority shareholder of The Space (49 %), last December’s investment plays a fundamental role in his film empire. Indeed Mr Berlusconi controls a great deal of the production and distribution market in Italy, by means of Medusa company. His control of the Italian media seems now complete.

How can the man who produces and distributes films be the same man who owns cinemas? Berlusconi has not simply purchased a multiplex chain. He has rather purchased the right to choose which films Italians (the same Italians he’s supposed  to lead) are permitted to watch.

Julius Silvio, the thrilling story of a 21st-century dictator, coming soon to Italian screens.


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