Berlusconi in propaganda push to sway foreign press

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The Independent Online

The beleaguered Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has ordered a special propaganda unit to "bombard" the foreign press with good news in an attempt to stem the tide of critical headlines overseas.

The media mogul has been infuriated by international coverage of the sex scandals that have beset him.

The Tourism Minister, Michela Vittoria Brambilla, announced yesterday that a group of "young journalists and communications experts" would "monitor all the foreign press, dailies, periodicals and TV, in every latitude from Japan to Peru" and "bombard it with accurate and positive news".

"The unit will be ready by the end of the month. There's no time to lose," she told Corriere della Sera newspaper. "There's an anti-Italian alliance in this country working against Italy, with the unique aim of discrediting and destroying the Prime Minister."

Giovanna Melandri, from the opposition Democratic Party, said: "Not content with controlling most of the Italian media [Mr Berlusconi] now wants to run the foreign press, too."