The Italian Almanac

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Romano Prodi

Italian News - October 5

Center-left politicians raised a hue and cry over the airing by a state-run television network of a video spoof portraying Prime Minister Romano Prodi and several lawmakers as rap singers. Parliamentary leaders of parties in Prodi's coalition addressed a letter to the board of directors of Rai television to protest the airing of the web-based segment on a news program last Friday, apparently inspired by a stormy debate the day before.

In the video, made from footage of last Thursday's parliamentary debate on a controversy over telecommunications giant Telecom Italia, opposition members can be heard heckling Prodi and other ruling party figures in the background. Prodi tried to resume his speech eight times at the same words, but was shouted down each time, and Chamber of Deputies speaker Fausto Bertinotti was forced to suspend the session after calling the hecklers to order several times.

"It is not acceptable that some of the republic's leading figures, from the prime minister to the vice prime minister, to the speaker of the Chamber... should be given a comic image," the letter said. The lawmakers asked the Rai board to take action after reviewing a tape of the broadcast.

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