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Today’s front page of La Repubblica is blank, to protest “an act of violence against the democratic system”. The Roman daily is furious that the Italian senate has approved PM Silvio Belusconi’s “gag law” on wiretapping, against which it has led a vigorous campaign. The law, passed on 10 June, sets a 75 day limit on wiretaps, forbids the publication of nothing but short summaries of recorded conversations, and imposes sanctions of up to €450,000 for editors in breach. Transcripts of recorded conversations have landed government members in hot water recently. In May, economic development minister Claudio Scajola was toppled over a public works corruption scandal. Silvio Berlusconi, whose sexual dalliances have been exposed through wiretaps, looks like he is winning his war against a press he complains enjoys “too much freedom”. “Now the curtain falls”, comments La Stampa, criticising a law dictated by “politicians’ urgent desire to shield themselves from scandal and to obtain a quiet future of impunity”. The Berlusconi government now intends to push the law through the lower chamber off the back of a vote of confidence.