The Italian authority responsible for over-seeing fair play on the television during the current election campaign has fined Rete4, a commercial TV channel belonging to the Berlusconi family- owned company Mediaset, 150,000 for violating the rules on equal opportunities for political parties. The fine was imposed following a programme called Liberitutti, where the presenter, Irene Pivetti, ex speaker of the house of parliament, had prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, as her only guest. The authority claim that the programme was nothing more than a eulogy of the prime minister with not a whisper of criticism, it was broadcast at an unusually early hour for longer than normal and repeated the following day.

The prime minister hit back at the authority claiming that it had become politicised and the sanctions they had imposed were ridiculous. Mediaset say it will appeal against the fine and opposition politicians are enjoying the spectacle of Berlusconi hitting out at an institution which he created himself.