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Reporter accused of insulting public official after a series of incidents in a protest

Enzo Palmesano, a journalist from Pignataro Maggiore (in the province of Caserta, in South West Italy) received a notice of investigation. The Presidents of FNSI and ODG, respectively the National Federation of Italian Journalists and the Order of Journalists, as well as Ossigeno and some local journalists expressed their solidarity to him

Palmesano closely covered a demonstration against the construction of a highly criticized gasification plant in Capua (in the province of Caserta) and ended up being investigated for insulting and using force against a public official. The protest against the construction of the plant took place on 14 February 2013 in Pignataro Maggiore and had been organized by the social centre called “Tempo Rosso”. That day a group of demonstrators, before and during the meeting, colourfully criticized the candidate to the Chamber of Deputies, Giampiero Zinzi (member of the Union of the Centre party – UdC), who is in favour of this waste disposal plant. Under the stage and at the entrance of the offices of the UdC the atmosphere was tense and some incidents were registered.

On 1st August 2013, at the end of the preliminary investigations on the incidents, the public prosecutor’s office of the Republic of Santa Maria Capua Vetere issued notices of investigation to eight people who took part in the protest, including Enzo Palmesano.
The journalist protested against the investigation. He underlined that he participated in the demonstration as a reporter and he filed a complaint of defamation against unknown people attempting to misrepresent his role when they know he works as a journalist in Pignataro Maggiore. In his work as a journalist he has received threats and a number of legal actions that turned out to be spurious.
SOLIDARITY – Enzo Palmesano received declarations of solidarity from the President of the FNSI Giovanni Rossi, ODG’s President Enzo Iacopino, and the Director of Ossigeno per l’Informazione, Alberto Spampinato, amongst others.

FNSI – “The Union of Journalists widely supports their colleague Enzo Palmesano in this protest –declared the President of FNSI. Enzo Palmesano is a professional, known for his probing, investigative journalism. This is why he has received several threats aimed at scaring him and preventing him from continuing to do his job. The recent episodes seem to have the same goal. But Palmesano, in his battle, has the support of the entire Union.

ODG – Enzo Iacopino, the President of the National Council of the Order of Journalists, declared, “To be honest I don’t think that the issue will be solved with warm words of solidarity. Enzo Palmesano is accused of insulting and using force against a public official because he was at the right place and at the right time. Enzo Palmesano, a professional journalist, was covering a harsh popular protest against the gasification plant in Pignataro Maggiore, on 14 February. On 1 August he found out that charges had been filed against him, thanks to a notice that the investigation was completed. Palmesano is a well-known journalist, especially in that area, known for his efforts against crime and the problems he faced due to that. It is quite upsetting that those who reported the facts omitted this detail. Personally, I refuse to believe that in this region the same methods of other countries are used to silence unwelcomed journalists. It would be ideal that the magistrate conducting the investigation, once informed of the situation, propose to suspend the inquiry, not to offer Palmesano preferential treatment, but in order to immediately eliminate the suspicion that some people want to keep in check a professional at the service of society”.

OSSIGENO – “I hope that the prosecutors of Santa Maria Capua Vetere soon clarify the role of Enzo Palmesano in the protest recognizing that the journalist was only a professional witness of the facts who attended the events to know what happens, to report the facts and to inform citizens. The hard work of the journalists who follow difficult situations has to be understood and respected as does the work of those responsible for law and order. In this case, as in similar ones, Ossigeno stands by Enzo Palmesano in his daily battle to show us that the prying eye of journalism has the right to be free and that this rule is equally valid even in the most remote parts of Italy”.

PIGNATARO MAGGIORE NEWS – “I express my full solidarity to my colleague Enzo Palmesano, together with the many journalists who are concerned about what happened to him” declared Davide De Stavola, journalist and administrator of the investigative journalism blog ‘Pignataro Maggiore News’. “Palmesano received a notice of the conclusion of the preliminary investigation as he was accused (together with other 7 alleged demonstrators) of insulting and using force against a public official. This happened only because on 14 February 2013 he was observing in Piazza Umberto I, in Pignataro Maggiore, a peaceful demonstration against the Zinzi family (father and son are members of the UdC party) who is promoting, along with the mayor of Capua, Carmine Antropoli, the absurd project of the gasification plant.

Tradotto da Giulia Lena

Revisionato da Cristina Di Battista

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