Daniele Luttazzi has a stronger claim than most as posterboy for Silvio Berlusconi's censorship by stealth. As a television presenter and comic actor who dared to criticise the Italian Prime Minister on his late-night show eight years
ago he has been sued and cast out in to the broadcasting cold.
In his first interview with a British newspaper Mr Luttazzi has accused the 72-year-old billionaire of orchestrating a top-down campaign to prevent journalists and comedians from voicing even the slightest degree of dissent on television. I
call it Fascism Lite, Luttazzi told The Times.
The comedian was sued for €20 million (£18 million) - one action by Berlusconi, and three by his business empire - after being accused of defamation during an television interview in 2001. After waiting four years for the case to crawl
through the courts Luttazzi won. Berlusconi was ordered to pay his costs.
He says that he still remains practically unemployable in a country where the majority of the mainstream media is owned by the powerful subject of his gibes. I won, said Luttazzi: But the damage was done.
In Italy state-owned TV channels have refused to show the trailer of the latest documentary by Erik Gandini, Videocracy , which looks at the rise of Berlusconi's TV stations and impact on the Italy's customs and ethics.
In a press statement state-owned Rai TV executives justified their decision by saying that the documentary is critical of the government.