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Campania. Journalist persecuted on Facebook

Insults, photomontages and recordings with his voice. More than fifteen days have gone by since Mr Gerardo Sorgente, chronicler from Eboli, near Salerno, has been persecuted on the social network

On a Facebook page he is repeatedly insulted, photographs are posted depicting him on the mortuary altar with the label “corpse” under it, as well as montages with clips of his voice: “I am the victim of a persecution that began fifteen days ago – the journalist Mr Gerardo Sorgente recounts – fostered by people who live in my city.”

According to the 35-year old chronicler, who is a registered publicist journalist since 2008, the insults on the web appeared after an interview to the mayor of his town, Mr Martino Melchionda, was aired on RDL, a local radio station of Eboli (in the province of Salerno). As Mr Sorgente explains, “it was a normal interview, but after a few days some friends told me that on Facebook a page appeared with the title “Sorgente di Vita” (“Spring of Life”, translator’s note) in which there were posts written against me.”

THE FACEBOOK PAGE – Mr. Sorgente, who has collaborated in the past with Metropolis newspaper, has been called “ass” and other names by the 25 followers of the page. The profile picture of the page portrays him with the mayor of Eboli. Furthermore, the page description, opened on December 21st, reads: “stories of a man who thinks that he knows, that he informs, that he has the truth in his pockets … a truly delusional individual. Images, sounds, videos and other multimedia material on this page will show to the larger audience of the network how this individual is living on another planet.”

As Mr Sorgente explains: “pictures are taken from my profile, and then modified. Until now I used indifference as a weapon, but after fifteen days I’ve been living in a situation of embarrassment and concern.”

The image that most worries the reporter is a photomontage published on January 8th, which shows him in a frame placed on a table with flowers around and the words: “It is useless to have a go at a corpse.”

“My wife is pregnant”, Mr Sorgente says, “and she is afraid of this situation, of some other person who reads these falsehoods and decides to do something about it and get at me.” A heavily charged atmosphere that has had consequences on his personal and working life: the journalist, who works in a training and communication centre in the health sector, said that he had to apologize to his company too for the damages to the company’s image.

“Some people accuse me of being subservient to power and to the mayor, but this is absolutely not true. I know him and I respect him, but I do my job”, Mr Sorgente said.

As for the authors of the threats, the reporter says he knows their names: “Eboli is a town of 40’000 people, and everyone knows everyone. As long as they want to criticize publicly, that’s fine. But to persecute someone is another matter entirely.”

For now, Mr Sorgente has not filed a complaint: “they stopped for a few days, but then resumed. They are making fun of me in the best of ways. I want to wait a little while longer for my peace of mind, but this is persecution pure and simple.”

Read in Italian

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