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21 Nov 2012

Silvio Berlusconi. Photo by CiuPix (modified).

Diversity:  Against all odds, former Italian prime minister Berlusconi was recently sentenced to one year in prison. This followed a long process where an Italian referendum had to be held to revoke his legal immunity, in order to indict him in the first place. We can learn a lot about the dangers of politically controlled media from how Berlusconi tried to defeat this referendum.

Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to one year in prison for “notable tax evasion”, and prohibited from holding public office for five years. Experts say that this means that the 76-year-old’s political career is effectively over.

However, this case has been dragging on for a long time, and started out as a seemingly hopeless case since Berlusconi enjoyed legal immunity for acts committed during his prime ministry. To repeal this immunity, a referendum was required in Italy – a population-wide referendum just to allow the former prime minister – one man – to even stand trial.