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The theoretical position
on media concentration is widely held.
It's backed up by historical experience,
the regulatory documents
that governments produce, and so on.
And the key ideas that democracy
requires diversity and pluralism
with the media reporting
and providing platform
for different politicians
and interest groups
to present their views,
is central to it.
But in practice, many examples
of media concentration
which have a damaging
and distorting effect
on the democratic process
have occurred and do occur,
and so I want to move on
now to look at examples
which are from
the contemporary experience.
Silvio Berlusconi acquired
his media empire in the 1980s
and early 1990s
when the Italian political system
was extremely corrupt.
And, indeed, it was the collapse
of that political system
which gave Silvio Berlusconi
the chance to seize political power.
He was Italy's richest man,
owner of real estate,
publishing, financial interests,
the media empire,
and he announced on January 26, 1994
on his three
private television networks,
which he owned that he was going
to found a new political party,
and run for prime minister.
So essentially in the vacuum
that was created by the collapse
of the old political parties
and the corruption,
he was able to intervene decisively
because he won the election
three months later
he was prime minister again in 2001,
and he was reelected in 2008.
So in this post he has effective control
of 90% of all Italian television
through his own company Mediaset
and through his power
to appoint his own supporters
to the public service broadcaster RAI.
And as one commentator pointed out,
"Half the journalists
in Italy work for him,
and the other half know
they might one day."
And as a result we see
the phenomenon of self-censorship
will be reluctant to criticize
such a powerful figure
when it might damage their career
or their ability to work as a journalist
in other news organizations.