Italy's Berlusconi probed on talk show allegations

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 19, 2011 2:44 PM

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is being investigated by magistrates over allegations of pressuring state broadcaster RAI to suppress a program critical of the government, judicial sources said on Tuesday.

The sources said the investigation centers on "AnnoZero," a political talk show hosted by Michele Santoro, a veteran Italian journalist and strong Berlusconi critic, which the prime minister is alleged to have tried to get removed from the airwaves in 2009.

They said it also targeted former RAI director general Mauro Masi and the former head of communications authority AGCOM, Giancarlo Innocenzi.

Berlusconi, owner of Italy's largest private broadcaster Mediaset, is suspected of abusing the powers of his office as prime minister by pressuring Masi and Innocenzi to have AnnoZero taken off the air.

(Reporting by Rome Bureau)