Mieli named prez in the wake of political turmoil

ROME — Paolo Mieli, head of publisher RCS (Rizzoli-Corriere della Sera), has been tapped as president of RAI, and four other members were named to the board. The appointments put an end to one of the most contentious periods in the Italian pubcaster’s recent history.

The appointments come in the wake of political turmoil due to conflict of interest issues surrounding Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s media might.

The selection of Mieli came as part of an agreement Wednesday by the speakers of the two houses of parliament to ensure that the new RAI boss would be close to the opposition party.

Mediaset, Italy’s largest broadcaster, is owned by the Berlusconi family. As head of the government, Berlusconi also effectively has oversight of RAI, which is Mediaset’s chief rival.

Mieli, a journalist who was previously editor in chief of the Italian dailies Corriere della Sera and La Stampa, also is the author of books tracing the history of the Italy’s leftist politics.

The other board members, considered closer to the center-right ruling coalition, are: sociologists Francesco Alberoni and Angelo Maria Petroni; Marcello Veneziani, journalist and ex-publisher of the right-wing mag Il Borghese; and Giorgio Rumi, a professor and columnist for the Vatican daily L’Ossevatore Romano.

After an intense day of meetings Thursday between Chamber of Deputies President Pierfernando Casini and Senate President Marcello Pera, Casini announced Friday that a solution had been reached in which individuals of cultural standing, “capable of guaranteeing RAI equality and efficiency,” had been selected.

The pubcaster has seen one of the most difficult periods in its history come to a head over the board’s makeup. In Rome on Friday, both government and opposition party members expressed satisfaction with the appointments.

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