Rules were put in place by Berlusconi

MILAN — Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia says it will challenge in the European courts plans by the government of rival mogul, and Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi to fine and jail journalists who print details of leaked wire-taps.

The proposals, which are due to go before the Senate next week, allow for newspapers to be fined up to E470,000 ($580,000) if they publish wiretaps without court permission. Another clause could see reporters who write such articles jailed for two months and fined E20,000 ($25,0000).

In a statement Sky said: “This law represents a grave attack on the liberty of the press but most of all constitutes a huge anomaly at the European level.”

Berlusconi, who has seen several embarrassing conversations of his own appear on the front pages, says the law is necessary to protect citizen’s privacy.

But the Democratic Party’s deputy leader in the Senate, Luigi Zanda, said the proposed press restrictions would be worse than those in Franco’s Spain.

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