Berlusconi tries law prohibiting reporting on corruption investigation; Italy's press refuses to report any news in protest

Italy's media is going on strike today, and practically no news will be reported. This is in protest of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's plan to ram through anti-wiretapping legislation that includes a gag order on reportage concerning government investigation (especially investigation of corruption).

Berlusconi's notoriously corrupt government has been the subject of numerous scandalous investigations, and the media oligarch previously passed legislation prohibiting the courts from prosecuting him while he was in office (this law was struck down by the courts, prompting Berlusconi to denounce his country's judiciary).

The media would only be able to publish a summary of the findings of an investigation after it had ended. While that may be no more onerous a restriction than applies in Britain, the editor of Italy's biggest-selling daily, Corriere della Sera, Ferruccio de Bortoli, argues it is "a bill tailor-made to shield members of the government from unwelcome investigation".

He added: "If this were a normal country, and there were not these interested attempts to make the work of the prosecutors more difficult, we would be readier to countenance a measure to protect the privacy of individuals."

Silvio Berlusconi's 'gag law' sparks media strike in Italy