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Ad Personam Man

‘Ad Personam’ is an expression being bandied around frequently these days in Italy, often with reference to media mogul cum prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in connection with his propensity for making laws which appear to benefit him personally.

Well, Italy’s ad personam man has been at it again.  This time on the pretext of buoying up Italy’s shaky public finances.  He’s come up with a neat way of raising a little extra cash, whilst, surprise, surprise, denting one of Berlusconi’s media businesses’ main competitors.

Yes, with regard to Berlusco, the sky’s seems to be the limit with regard to protecting his own back, and lining his pockets.  What’s Italy’s mischievous prime minister been up to this time? Read on to find out.

Shooting at the Sky

Mr 'Sky' Murdoch
Mr 'Sky' Murdoch

In a clever little move, Silvio Berlusconi’s government is about to double the VAT paid by pay-tv channels from 10 to 20%.

With thanks to reader Giorgio of Milan for pointing out that the new VAT hits satellite channels, not digital terrestrial television channels.  Guess what?  Yes, Berlusconi’s channels are of the digital terrestrial variety.

You may not be too surprised to learn that one of Berlusconi’s arch enemies in the Italian TV business is likely to be hit hardest by this somewhat Berlusconi friendly new law.  That enemy is none other than multinational media mogul Rupert Murdoch‘s well known Sky TV company.

At the time of writing:  Berlusconi 1, Murdoch 0.

Will Rupert React?

Whether the shrewd Mr Murdoch will take personal umbrage at Italy’s Ad Personam man is yet to be seen.  However, Italy’s champion of right, Antonio Di Pietro, is not all happy with what he personally views as being yet another example of Berlusconi tinkering with Italy’s laws for the sole purpose of protecting the Berlusconi family’s extensive business interests.

Banana Republic

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Stop reading, start speaking

Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.

Di Pietro accused dear old Berlusco of introducing a law more befitting of a banana republic than a western democracy!

As ever Berlusco will brush this little matter off, which is not really any surprise when you hear that the tanned one’s very own defence lawyer, one Niccolò Ghedini, also just happens to hold a position as a member of the present Italian parliament.  Talk about inside knowledge!

Lucky, Mr. Berlusconi appears to have his personal defence lawyer making made to measure laws for him.  How convenient.

Murdoch v Berlusconi?

It would be great to see Murdoch‘s legal team attempt to take on Ad Personam man, even if Rupert would be at a distinct disadvantage in not having a pet lawyer planted in the midst of government to make nice shiny new laws for him in Italy.

Of course Sky’s prices will go up, and many Italians will shift over to Berlusco’s very own Sky type digital terrestrial pay TV service – known incidentally as Mediaset Premium.

Berlusco will laugh all the way to the bank, as usual.  He’ll probably crack a few jokes about Obama’s suntan while he’s on the way there, just for good measure.

Such is Italy, but not, I hasten to add, all Italians.

Ad Personam Man – Coming to a TV Screen Near You

Oh, and if the Marvel people are looking for a new super hero, or super villain, how about Ad Personam Man?  Has quite a ring to it, don’t you think?

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Italian News Fragments from July 2010

It’s hot here. Summer was a little late in coming this year, but it’s well and truly here now. I’m keeping busy, which is good, but I’m finding less time to blog about Italy, which is not so good. Here’s a little of what his happening in Italy at the moment.


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