O2 in English

From a country with partial press freedom

Beginning this week, the watchdog Ossigeno per l’Informazione will publish a review in English on threats to journalists in Italy. Ossigeno Bad News from Italy is the result of efforts by some International Institutions to solidify the need to confront Italian problems with similar problems in similar countries, but with different press liberties.

The review will try to shed light on the dark forces which lurk behind the scenes of journalism and information: forces which are strongest in advanced countries, where all problems seem solved.

The readers of Bad News will be able to read news which are not widely known, even in Italy. For in Italy news doesn’t spread around, and when it does it tends to be fragmented and rarely goes beyond the local level.

The news gathered by Ossigeno will look like messages in a bottle out at sea: these will be interesting and important, even from a social point of view. By pulling together all these shreds of information it will be possible to see thousands of Italian journalists forced to work in dramatic conditions.

Our Bad News act like small strokes which, one by one, draw a picture of Italy in which journalism is not a well-tolerated activity, constantly less accepted, and a feared profession always subject to stronger influences: Bad News depicts an Italy where the journalist is treated like a “vase of clay forced to travel with many vases of iron” who works in a painful condition, often prevaricated, much like the priests described by Alessandro Manzoni, who were surrounded by thugs and bullied by brutes.

It is sad to say that the situation is so, and that until things wont change Ossigeno will never stop denouncing that journalist information in Italy is not completely free, but only “partially” free, as certified by Freedom House and Reporters Sans Frontiéres.

We will continue to voice our grievances without rhetoric, by simply letting the world know, as we have been doing since 2008, about the incessant downpour of disinformation on threatened journalists. A downpour which most seem not to see, and which is polluting democracy and harming citizens: the news speaks for itself louder than any treaty on journalism, clearly showing the knots on information which will have to be untied by politics and the institutions once the indifference will recede.

Italy will certainly have to face and solve such problems, that is why an international attention can be of help: it can be a useful stimulus and can bring closer the moment of change. Whoever wants to try and speed things up, please help us spread this newsletter.

A review of the worst and most recent Bad News follows. 

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