Political pic peeves Italian prime minister's party

MILAN — As if relations between rival media barons Rupert Murdoch and Silvio Berlusconi weren’t bad enough, Murdoch’s Sky TV channel has upped the ante by broadcasting political pic “Shooting Silvio,” about a plan to kill the Italo prime minister, whom it portrays in a distinctly unflattering light.

Airing of the film may be payback as, earlier this year, Mediaset owner Berlusconi introduced big value-added tax hikes that hit rival Sky hard.

Following the “Shooting Silvio” broadcast April 13, angry members of Berlusconi’s ruling party said airing the pic was “an incitement to violence” against the prime minister.

While critics say the film by Berado Carboni is more like an incitement to doze off, opposition MPs say the government’s reaction indicates that even films may not be safe from political censorship.

And censorship is certainly on some Italians’ minds at the moment. Last week, Berlusconi told reporters he was tempted to introduce a news blackout following the enthusiasm with which they had reported a string of recent prime ministerial gaffes involving everyone from Britain’s queen to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He has reason to desire such a blackout. Just when Berlusconi appeared to be making some PR headway for his government’s response to the recent earthquake, he told a young female doctor treating quake victims that he “wouldn’t mind being resuscitated by her.”

“I hope it never comes to that,” the emergency specialist replied instantly, smiling at the cameras.

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