Berlusconi's control over Italian TV denounced

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Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's control of Italian television came under fresh scrutiny yesterday after the prime-time line-up of both state and private networks was changed to give him the spotlight.

Giuseppe Giulietti, an opposition parliamentarian, denounced the changes as proof that virtually all Italian broadcasters were forced to "genuflect before the sole master".

Mr Berlusconi's Mediaset empire owns the three largest private networks and as premier he has considerable influence over RAI. He denies charges of conflict of interest and says he has no say about programmes, but critics say others are exercising his influence for him.