Murdoch, Prodi have sit-down

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ROME -- News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch was in the Italian capital Thursday for meetings with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and Minister of Communications Paolo Gentiloni.

The meeting with Prodi -- the first between the two men in more than a year -- took place over breakfast in Prodi's office. It comes as the Italian government is ramping up reforms aimed at increasing competition in the television sector.

The sector is dominated by state broadcaster RAI and Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset. News Corp.-controlled Sky Italia is the country's only significant satellite broadcaster and the third-largest broadcaster in overall terms.

Murdoch also was scheduled to meet with Berlusconi on Friday in Milan.

A Sky Italia spokesman declined to discuss Murdoch's two Thursday meetings when contacted, while a spokesman for Prodi's office said only that the two men discussed "areas of common interest."

A Mediaset spokesman did not return phone calls seeking comment about Friday's meeting between Murdoch and Berlusconi.
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