[...] Last week, Internet campaigners for greater transparency in Italian government claimed a small victory when one house of Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, delayed a scheduled vote on the membership of the Authority for Communications Guarantees, or Agcom, which regulates the media and telecommunications, including the Internet. In a break from the past, when members of such commissions were appointed via back-room deals, Gianfranco Fini, president of the chamber, announced that candidates would have to file résumés, so that their applications could be considered on merit.

[...] The selection of the new media and telecommunications regulator has attracted such broad interest because it is seen as a test of how much power Mr. Berlusconi still wields behind the scenes. Rivals of Mediaset have long complained that when he was prime minister, regulators favored his company and another politically connected giant, Telecom Italia. Several rival telecommunications companies, including Vodafone Italia, FastWeb and Wind, boycotted a recent farewell speech by the current head of the regulatory panel, Corrado Calabrò, whose mandate expires in July.


Given the entrenched positions, and the close political allegiances, picking a candidate satisfactory to all sides will not be easy, analysts say.

“It’s very difficult to find someone with experience in the sector who is not pro or against Mediaset,” said Augusto Preta, general manager of ITMedia Consulting, a research firm in Rome.

Eric Pfanner, The New York Times, 27 May 2012

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