Will the Media Help Berlusconi Reclaim Italy's Premiership?

By Iginio Gagliardone and Davide Morisi

It has been more than eight months since Silvio Berlusconi resigned as Italy's Prime Minister and a government of technocrats stripped international reporting on Italian politics of the burlesque tones that used to characterize his time in office.

Berlusconi, however, who continues to control a large share of Italy's media and whose party has continued to influence the public service broadcaster and communications regulatory bodies, seems to be increasingly inclined to run again in the upcoming elections, which will most likely take place in the Spring of 2013. Given the inextricable relationship between Berlusconi's political success and Italy's media, a video series has been developed to offer insight into the role of the media in Italy today and their influence on the country's politics. This series is part of an ongoing effort to explain key issues of Italian society and politics to the wider public. Is it television which made Berlusconi's economic and political fortune, still relevant for the Italian public? Or are the new media slowly supplanting it, offering a greater variety of opinions and allowing more independence in accessing information? In the first video of a three-part series, data shows a population still largely reliant on TV as the most important source of information. Only the younger generations, which are notoriously kept outside power circles in a country with the oldest managerial and political class in Europe, are showing a greater ability to move across different platforms. It is still unclear, however, whether or not the youth will be able to seize the opportunities offered by the new media to advance a new political agenda Italy desperately needs.