Berlusconi, Italy and the Media Purgatory

Posted on October 13, 2010


I did this illustration (obviously inspired by Delacroix) for an article in the Argentine daily Río Negro which summarize another one published by “Foreign Policy”.

But, unlike the original reference, the Argentine counterpart underscores the source of the unlimited power that allows Berlusconi to turn Italy into a “bordello” (brothel): his uncontested control of the Media. This is the same danger perceived by the so called “populist” governments in Latin America.

From Honduras all the way down to Argentina, as well as Venezuela and Brazil, the Media are so concentrated in a few hands of rich, traditional families, that any initiative finds in the Media the true “Opposition Party”. I bet the Obama administration, battered by the “tea party” and Fox channel, may feel a bit closer to his southern neighbours these days.

The Argentine government boosted last year a law blueprinted by civil organizations and media academics to limit the number of TV and radio stations owned by the same group and to help local civil and minorities groups to be able to make their voices heard. The law was approved after a lot of debate and open assemblies but it was kept at bay until now by a chain of judiciary recourses.

It seems that The Press has changed from being “the fourth power” to be the first one in the practice.