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Italian Premier accused of censoring TV

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is calling on Italian Premier and media magnate Silvio Berlusconi for "clarification" of the removal from state TV of two well-known critics of his role.<br>

In a letter to the Italian Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Silvio Berlusconi, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media, Freimut Duve, has asked for clarification on the recent removal of two political programmes by the country's state broadcaster, RAI. The shows featured left-leaning political commentator Michele Santoro and leading journalist Enzo Biagi, both of whom have been recently criticised by Berulsconi.

"Some voices in Italy, including that of the Italian journalists' union, have called this removal a 'political move', given the fact that you reproached the two journalists running these programmes for having used public television 'in a criminal way'", Duve said in his letter.

Fabrizio Del Noce, the news director at one of RAI's main channels says the shows were pulled due to poor ratings, whereas opposition politicians and the journalists' union insist it was a move by Berlusconi to silence critics.

Berlusconi directly or indirectly controls 90% of Italy's television market but has denied having any hand in RAI's programming decisions.

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