London, Sept 1 : Umberto Eco, an Italian novelist and philosopher, has blasted Silvio Berlusconi''s moves to sue newspapers for their investigation of the sex scandals which have dogged him.
Eco is among the 115,000 people who by Monday had signed an online message of solidarity with La Repubblica. The left-leaning Italian newspaper is being sued for questioning the Prime Minister’s behaviour and private life, reports The Times.
Eco said: “When someone has to intervene to defend freedom of the press it means that the society, and with it a great part of the press itself, is already sick.”
He added that in robust democracies there was no need to defend press freedom “because it enters nobody’s mind to limit it”.
Berlusconi''s lawyers accuse newspapers of being "aggressive" in their coverage of the private life of the Italian prime.
The 72-year-old tycoon has been mired in controversy since his wife, Veronica Lario, 53, announced in May that she wanted a divorce.
She was apparently furious over his attendance at the 18th birthday party of an aspiring lingerie model, Noemi Letizia.
Later an escort, Patrizia D''Addario, claimed that she and another prostitute had sexual intercourse with the prime minister at his official residence in Rome following a private party. (ANI)