- Silvio Berlusconi has been the Prime Minister of Italy for three times. Berlusconi is the
owner of the company Media Set. He also owns an advertising and publishing company and
about 50 magazines. His brother is the owner of the Italian Daily, one of the most read
newspapers in Italy. Next to that he is the owner of the soccer club AC Milan. You can say
Berlusconi is all around the country and it is difficult not noticing his influence.
The power of Berlusconi can be seen as both actual and potential power.
- The actual power can be seen as the fact that he is the Prime Minister of Italy. He has the
capability to force the people what to do and how to do it, he can do this via changing the
legislation which he can arrange via the parliament. The opportunity to change the law into
what you think is necessary, is a way of actual power. The citizens of Italy have to adjust to
the law and are thus influenced by the power of the government. During the time Berlusconi
was the prime minister a lot of the legislation has been changed. A lot of problems Italy has in
the area of media can be traced down to Silvio Berlusconi. It is said that the biggest problem
are the fact that the whole culture has changed. Even now Berlusconi is retired the problems
are not solved, even when he will die the changes will be notable (Lyman, 2010).
- The other aspect of power is the potential power Berlusconi has. Which in my opinion, in
this case, is probably more powerful than the actual power he had as the prime minister. With
potential power I mean the power he has by owning a lot of media companies and in that way
indirectly influences the society. Silvio Berlusconi does not only owns his own company MediaSet, he also owns several other media related companies, and is the owner
of an internet Bank, called Mediolanum, and of the Italian soccer club AC Milan (Rossi, 2012).
By owning all these different media companies Berlusconi has great influence on the Italian
Society. He is able to decide what his news programs will broadcast, for example by selecting
editors who support him. During election time this can be very powerful. It is easy to
broadcast the ideas of Berlusconi. When you will read the newspaper you will only read about
Berlusconi and in the end you will really believe the things they write about him. The TV
stations Berlusconi owns are among the most popular channels the Italians watch. One of
America’s news websites say: “And as prime minister, he has indirect control over RAI —
enough, critics say, to pull the strings necessary to put that broadcaster’s “fairness doctrine”
into effect.” (Lyman, 2010). This also makes the influence he has on the citizens more
powerful. During the time he was the Prime Minister he also had a lot of influence on the
public channels and newspapers. Which increases both the actual and the potential
power. Because Berlusconi owns so many media companies questions are raised about the
press freedom of Italy. Italy is ranked as the 49th country in the world when it comes to press
freedom (Lyman, 2010). This is a surprising ranking for a country from Europe. Italy is even
ranked lower than for example Mali. It has to do with the fact that one person is basically
owning half of all the media in one country. To me it is an interesting fact that it is even
possible to own so many countries as one person. It almost gives you a monopoly.
“It would be difficult to imagine a modern and industrialized country, a member of the G8
and a founding member of the European Union, where a single figure had so much control
over the media”, said Domenico Affinito, vice-president of the Italian chapter of Reporters
Without Borders.” (Lyman, 2010).
- Eventually Silvio Berlusconi got sentenced because of a multimillion euro tax fraud. He
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