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Palermo: Journalists’ houses searched after a scoop

Journalists had reported on the public prosecutor’s office of Caltanissetta’s investigation of Totò Riina. The National Union of Italian Reporters (UNCI) protests the search

The houses of three Palermo journalists, Giuseppe Lo Bianco, Sandra Rizza and Riccardo Lo Verso were searched on October 12 at 7.00 a.m. by the Carabinieri of the Investigation Centre of the Provincial Command of Catania. The soldiers analyzed journalists’ computers, smartphones, digital media, tablets and diaries by order of Carmelo Zuccaro, the deputy prosecutor of the Republic of Catania. The soldiers were searching for evidence proving a presumed leak of news related to an investigation of incarcerated mafia boss Totò Riina.

On October 9, Lo Bianco and Rizza published in the “Fatto Quotidiano” newspaper and Lo Verso on the news website “Live Sicilia” two articles about the investigation by the public prosecutor of Caltanissetta about the latest activities of Totò Riina. The mafia boss, in conversations from prison with members of his family, may have alluded to possible new attacks against Sicilian magistrates.

The UNCI – the National Union of Italian Reporters and the Sicilian Group of the UNCI has expressed its solidarity towards the three reporters.

The Order of Journalists (ODG) of Sicily states: “Once again, journalists are having to pay for publishing relevant news while being probably victims of contrasts and contradictions between different judiciary offices”. These facts illustrate our difficulties in pursuing our job and force us to ask the authorities to guarantee the safety of our colleagues.

The National Federation of the Italian Press (FNSI) declares that “Prosecuting journalists for having reported information acquired through professional means and evaluations in an enquiry recalling crimes of such importance is undoubtedly alarming. The permanent questioning of the concept of professional confidentiality of journalists by the judiciary (which has happened more than once in Sicily) is creating a quite uncomfortable short circuit” the National Federation of the Italian Press concludes.

Tradotto da Filip Teodoreanu

Revisionato da Cristina Di Battista

Read in Italian

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