When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Shares of Prime Minister's TV network Mediaset rise -- then fall -- after surviving no-confidence in Parliament. Though Berlusconi still denies politics and business are linked, the markets disagree.



By Francesco Spini

MILAN – Earlier in the week, as Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi faced a pair of crucial confidence votes, and riots broke out in the streets of Rome, the Milan stock market was watching.

The shares of Berlusconi's Mediaset broadcasting company had been slipping since November as the Italian leader faced a challenge from a group of rebel lawmakers that risked bringing down his government.


But after Berlusconi won the two votes on Tuesday, things quickly changed. Mediaset started bouncing back. The company's shares shot up 4 % on the Milan stock exchange in the immediate aftermath of his Parliamentary victory. They slowed down a little in subsequent hours, but closed up 3.29 %, at 4.63 euros. It was Mediaset's best result in three weeks.

Mediaset was one of the few stocks to do well on Tuesday. Another was ENI, the Italian energy giant that was recently cited in Wikileaks cables about the unusually close relations between Berlusconi and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and energy deals between their respective countries.


For Mediaset, the run didn't last, with its shares closing down 1.29 % Wednesday, and continued to struggle through the week, as it became clear that Berlusconi's hold on power remains shaky at best.


But this is clearly how the market sees it, and has always seen it: Berlusconi means Mediaset. Traders continue to take into account the Berlusconi (the politician) Factor in the company technically run by his children and closest friends.

A portion of the value that is currently attached to Mediaset shares is embedded in the fact that Berlusconi is the prime minister. The market believes that when Berlusconi is sitting in the prime minister's palace, Palazzo Chigi, Mediaset is a little bit there with him, too.


It clearly doesn't matter how often Berlusconi repeats he has had nothing to do with Mediaset. "I don't even call the switchboard, lest somebody said the prime minister called…" Berlusconi once declared.

The market is convinced otherwise. And, according to Wikileaks cables, so are U.S. diplomats. In recent cables released by Wikileaks, the U.S. ambassador to Rome David Thorne suggests that a recent Italian communications decree may have been drafted to help Mediaset in its battle against Sky Italia, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.


Berlusconi has also come under criticism because earlier this year he appointed a longtime friend and TV executive, Paolo Romani, at the helm of the Ministry for Economic Development, which also deals with media and communications issues.


Under the center-left government headed by Premier Romano Prodi, Berlusconi's predecessor, Mediaset underperformed the market by some 30 percent. But Berlusconi is not like Prodi. Berlusconi is like a cat: and his survival in the recent confidence votes gives him yet another one of his nine lives.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

Jehovah's Witnesses Translate The Bible In Indigenous Language — Is This Colonialism?

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Chile have launched a Bible version translated into the native Mapudungun language, evidently indifferent to the concerns of a nation striving to save its identity from the Western cultural juggernaut.

A Mapuche family awaits for Chilean President Gabriel Boric to arrive at the traditional Te Deum in the Cathedral of Santiago, on Chile's Independence Day.

Claudia Andrade

NEUQUÉN — The Bible can now be read in Mapuzugun, the language of the Mapuche, an ancestral nation living across Chile and Argentina. It took the Chilean branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a latter-day Protestant church often associated with door-to-door proselytizing and cold calling, three years to translate it into "21st-century Mapuzugun".

The church's Mapuche members in Chile welcomed the book when it was launched in Santiago last June, but some of their brethren see it rather as a cultural imposition. The Mapuche were historically a fighting nation, and fiercely resisted both the Spanish conquerors and subsequent waves of European settlers. They are still fighting for land rights in Chile.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ