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Region of Calabria. Search warrant for the local newspaper “Calabria Ora”. Sansonetti, the editor in chief responds: “It’s intimidation”

Prosecutor De Raho: a news leak regarding meetings of Italy’s Anti-Mafia Directorate (DNA) has compromised the investigations. Expressions of solidarity with the involved journalists from FNSI (Italian Press Federation)

On 12 September, on order of the Reggio Calabria Prosecutor’s Office, police inspected computers of journalists in the newsroom of L’Ora della Calabria, taking material from that of Consolato Minniti, author of an article published that day which refers to two meetings of the Anti-Mafia National Directive that took place in June.

The next day, editor in chief Piero Sansonetti wrote about the search in his editorial “The Prosecutor’s Office has seized our newsroom” and received a reply from the Reggio Calabria Prosecutor’s Office.
Sansonetti said that police arrived around 8 p.m. halting the newsroom activities for hours. The journalist Consolato Miniti was required to surrender his cell phones and even his house was searched. Sansonetti underlined that, the same day, the newspaper Il Sole24Ore also published an article, by Roberto Galullo, related to the DNA meetings, but only the Calabria Ora newsroom was searched.

Both Minniti and Galullo’s articles refer to what was said during the two meetings held on 19 and 27 June in Rome by the Deputy National Prosecutor Anti-Mafia Gianfranco Donaddio (until recently, the head of the “massacres” division) and six assistant prosecutors of the DNA, in which Donaddio retraced the phases of investigations conducted on massacres in Sicily in recent years, revealing the theories of some informants.

The FNSI Secretary Franco Siddi along with the FNSI Vice-Secretary and Secretary of the Calabria Journalists Union, Carlo Parisi, have expressed their “disappointment and concern” in a public statement. “It’s a temporary impediment to journalistic professionalism which introduces an objective element of limitation of the right to be informed”.

The Reggio Calabria Prosecutor, Federico Cafiero De Raho, in replying to Sansonetti, affirmed that ”it wasn’t a seizure, the Prosecutor’s Office just made a copy of the computer of the journalist who wrote the article in question”. Prosecutors reacted, explained De Raho, to a “serious leak of news” about confidential reports, whose disclosure constitutes a punishable offense and severely compromises the investigations in progress. During the search, police found photocopies of the original reports of Anti-Mafia National Directive’s meetings of 19 and 27 June 2013.

Sansonetti replied in his own newspaper: “I am convinced that you didn’t want to commit an intimidatory act. However, dear prosecutor, this was indeed an intidmidatory act, we experienced it this way and from now on it will be more difficult for us to work in Reggio”.

OSSIGENO – “Ossigeno expressed its solidarity to the editor in chief and to all the journalists of Calabria Ora. This phenomenon”, said the director of Ossigeno, Alberto Spampinato. “has an intimidatory effect, it is an invasive investigation that damages the freedom of the press. These investigations that involve newsrooms are not justified, not even by a serious offense like the leak of news covered by professional secrecy, especially if the judiciary does not act in the same way and with the same lack of regard, towards the same magistrates and senior officials suspected of failing to comply with their duty to respect professional secrecy. In other countries, criminal codes have been changed so that in these cases only public officials can be investigated, not the journalists who carry out their duty publishing confidential documents”.

Tradotto da Nicoletta Ferrara
Revisionato da Cristina Di Battista

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