Renzi speaks of threatened journalists. It is a turning point. The Comment
For the first time a prime minister has inserted the topic in the political agenda. It is the starting point for addressing the problem
The “many threatened journalists, who are often insecure, who are too often left completely alone” feel a little less alone after the words of the President of the Council, Mr Matteo Renzi, who expressed “closeness, support” to all those who, like Mr Roberto Saviano, have “made of the word an instrument of freedom and change.”
This is the first time that a Prime Minister addresses the issue, remembering among the “civil heroes” those journalists who have been killed, and pointing out true reporters, true journalists, like Mr Giancarlo Siani. As such I thank him on behalf of the Observatory Ossigeno per l’Informazione, which sees its main demand accepted after years of fighting: put on the political agenda of the government this dramatic problem that afflicts thousands of media workers and limits our democracy. I now hope that the many emergencies of our country do not prevent Renzi, the Government and Parliament to address the issue politically and legislatively through practical measures.
Ossigeno has documented and analysed thousands of cases. The Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission has discussed the issue and put proposals forward. The problems to be solved have been identified: to assist the victims; prevent and punish harassment and abuse; recognize journalistic information as fundamental to the public interest and actively protect it; provide for the offense of the obstruction of freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution; prevent the abuse of the rules on defamation for intimidation; give effect to the professional secrecy obligation for journalists.
This issue should also be on the agenda for the European Semester. For years, in Europe, Italy has been closely watched due to the high number of journalists under protection, that are threatened and attacked, and the reason being those laws that allow restrictions on freedom of expression, those rules that are not consistent with the case law of the European Union, all those reforms announced but never realized, like a disease that if left untreated is likely to infect our neighbours: a censorship under disguise.