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Journalists probed in Trani

Duo suspected of taking Berlusconi 'RAI pressure' papers

19 March, 14:46
Journalists probed in Trani (ANSA) - Trani, March 19 - Two journalists from a left-leaning daily in Rome have been placed under investigation on suspicion of taking papers relating to a probe into alleged pressure by Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi on media watchdog Agcom to shut down a talk show on state broadcaster RAI.

The La Repubblica journalists, Francesco Viviani and Giuliano Foschini, could face charges of theft and publication of 'sub judice' papers, judicial sources said in this southern Italian city Friday.

Preliminary investigations judge Roberto Oliveri Del Castillo refused to tell reporters where the papers, which were later photocopied and published, had been stored.

He also declined to comment on reports that there was security-camera footage of the alleged theft.

"Other journalists" are set to be questioned on the alleged theft, judicial sources added.

Trani Prosecutor Carlo Maria Capristo vowed that he "would not let up" in a bid to identify possible 'moles'.

Berlusconi is under investigation along with Agcom member Giancarlo Innocenzi for the alleged bid to close Annozero, a talk show accused by the premier of subjecting people to trial by the media.

Also under investigation is the editor of RAI's flagship news programme, Augusto Minzolini, for allegedly telling the premier about the probe.

Magistrates are set to decide later Friday whether to transfer the part of the probe regarding Berlusconi to a special court in Rome that deals with charges against ministers.

Berlusconi has described the probe as "ridiculous" and claimed it was timed to hurt his People of Freedom (PdL) party ahead of March 28-29 elections in 13 of Italy's 20 regions.

On Thursday night he issued a get-out-the-vote appeal to PdL supporters amid signs that the opposition Democratic Party is gaining in the polls.

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