Nelson Mandela Death: Berlusconi's Il Giornale Calls Mandela 'Father of Apartheid'

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By Gianluca Mezzofiore | December 6, 2013 9:40 PM EST

The daily paper of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has apologised for calling Nelson Mandela "the father of apartheid".

In a rush to beat other Italian media outlets, Berlusconi's mouthpiece Il Giornale published a story with the headline "South Africa, the father of apartheid Nelson Mandela dies at 95".

The Rome-based daily paper Il Messaggero also carried the howler, as did Il Mattino, a local Naples newspaper.

Il Giornale later apologised for the mistake: "We apologise to readers for the typo in the article published tonight [5 December] about the death of Nelson Mandela.

"A serious mistake, which was contradicted by the content of the article in which we recalled his role against apartheid of South Africa's first black president," it said.

Italian journalist at Il Giornale Andrea Cortellari also apologised with a tweet. It says "I'm aware of a hardly forgivable mistake. I apologise with the readers."

Founded by one of Italy's greatest journalist, Indro Montanelli, Il Giornale was bought by Silvio Berlusconi, who used it as a mouthpiece in harsh media battles against his opponents.

Il Giornale is Italy's fourth daily newspaper and its circulation is around 200,000 copies a day.

Most recently, Il Giornale attacked Italy president Giorgio Napolitano for his refusal to grant the 77-year-old media mogul a pardon.

Berlusconi's mouthpiece described the 88-year-old President as an "embittered old man in bad faith who is unworthy of Italy's highest office."

Napolitano, a former socialist, was voted in president for an unprecedented second term earlier this year with the full support of Berlusconi's MPs.

READ:

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Nelson Mandela: Images of an Icon

Nelson Mandela Dies Aged 95 LIVE REACTION

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