Silvio Berlusconi now caught trying to gag the media

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London, March 18 (ANI): Silvio Berlusconi is in the line of fire again - the Italian Premier has attracted controversy over wiretaps wherein he is apparently trying to stifle the media.

According to the new transcripts, published in Italy for the first time, Berlusconi called up a commissioner on the country's independent broadcast watchdog, Agcom, after he came to know that a show analysing corruption cases against him was to be aired on state broadcaster Rai.

"I'm telling you, Thursday evening there was still the Spatuzza trial [on TV] and they were trying me as if I belonged to the Mafia... really, if you don't manage to do this stuff here... I don't know..." the Independent quoted Berlusconi, as telling Giancarlo Innocenzi, commissioner on Agcom.

After news emerged of a Rai programme on the Berlusconi-Mills bribery charges Innocenzi told Rai director general Mauro Masi over the phone: "Berlusconi yelled at me: 'What the fuck are you doing with all this?" Then he gave me an ear-bashing that never ended."

Berlusconi even suggested that Innocenzi talk to Agcom president Corrado Calabro over the issue.

He said: "But be careful on the phone with the president [Calabro], there are voices that say... his telephone is being recorded."

The excerpts of the wiretaps, published in the centre-left La Repubblica, have led to new investigations against Berlusconi and Innocenzi, for possible abuse of office.

An embittered Pierluigi Bersani, Head of the opposition Democratic Party said: "If he wants to change the TV programme, I'd suggest the Prime Minister use the remote control not the telephone." (ANI)

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