Italy's television watchdog, the Communications Authority, today fined one of
the three TV channels in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset
broadcasting empire $300,000 for biased coverage of the current Italian
election. It was the second such fine meted out to the TV channel Rete4 in two
weeks. Italian publications cited a TV monitoring study by Centro d'ascolto,
which disclosed that between Feb. 11 and March 26, Rete4 gave four times the
coverage to Berlusconi's party and allies than it did to the opposition.
Nevertheless, today's London Financial Times points out that Berlusconi
is behind in the opinion polls and "suggests that there is no simple
correlation between people's exposure to unbalanced TV election coverage and
their voting intentions."