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Calabria. A politician: “That reporter will have to sell his organs”

Shocking phrases intercepted of the Regional Councillor Mr Naccari Carlizzi speaking about Mr Michele Inserra and the editor of the daily newspaper Quotidiano della Calabria, Mr Matteo Cosenza

The councillor of the Region of Calabria, Mr Demetrio Naccari Carlizzi, in some wiretaps recorded in 2012 during an investigation by the Prosecutor of Reggio Calabria, threatened to take to court for damages Mr Michael Inserra, who is a senior reporter for the daily Quotidiano della Calabria, and the editor the same newspaper, Mr Matteo Cosenza, in order to obtain from them large amounts of money as compensation for the publication of two articles which were not appreciated.

“He will have to sell his organs … he’ll sell a foot, […] he’ll sell his house, if has one, and also the editor”: this is one of the phrases that the councillor of the Democratic Party (PD) has spoken on the phone showing his resentment for the publication of some articles about a judicial inquiry in which he appeared to be involved together with his wife, who is a doctor. A second intercepted telephone call raised the suspicion that within the newsroom of the newspaper there was a ‘mole’ that, at least on one occasion, would have let known in advance to the outside what the newspaper would be publishing the next day.

THREATS OF COMPLAINT – The words of Mr Naccari Carlizzi, while constituting a private vent, express the intention of the politician to instrumentally resort to a legal action so as to punish the journalists and put them in the condition of being unable to ever take another inquiry against him.

Mr Naccari Carlizzi interpreted as a hostile act towards him the articles published by Mr Inserra in June 2012, which reported the development of the judicial investigation on a public competition for the award of the post of first level medical director in the dermatology unit for the United Hospitals of Reggio Calabria. In the investigations by the Prosecutor of Reggio (which have in the meantime closed), the involvement of both the regional councillor and his wife, Dr Valeria Falcomatà, who had won the competition, has been proved. Mr Inserra had published the contents of a wiretap in which it is possible to hear the voice of the doctor who, before the closure of the competition, claims the “right” to win it. Mr Naccari Carlizzi commented on the publication of such news referring to a “persecution” by Mr Inserra and Mr Cosenza and assuming that the journalists, for being able to obtain those information, had to use “bugs inside the Prosecutor’s Office”.

THE MOLE HYPOTHESIS – In a second wiretap – as the roman daily Il Tempo reported – Mr Naccari Carlizzi, while talking with the deputy of the Democratic Party Mr Demetrio Battaglia, his defence attorney, claimed to have learned from a source inside the Quotidiano della Calabria that the next day Mr Inserra would publish the news that, when questioned by the magistrates, his wife did not want to answer any question.

SOLIDARITY – The newsroom of the Quotidiano della Calabria through a statement expressed solidarity with Mr Inserra, “who has been object of grim and threatening words. Mr Naccari Carlizzi has obviously every right to lodge complaints, lawsuits, and claim damages; but does not have the right to use abusive and offensive language against those who practice their work with honesty, and decidedly out of place with respect to those who live the delicate drama of organ donation.”

The editor, Mr Matteo Cosenza, has sided along with Mr Inserra publishing an opinion column on March 31st, after being its called into question by Mr Naccari Carlizzi. As the editor writes: “maybe [Naccari Carlizzi] should apologize, but even if he did it would not help, because his words do not seem the result of a temporary insanity but rather the result of a way of thinking that gives the goose bumps.”

“Three of my newspaper colleagues have called me on the phone to express their solidarity”, Mr Inserra said, “but I haven’t received calls from journalists of other newspapers.” Mr Inserra has also received solidarity from some local committees of the New Centre Right party (NCD), from the exponent of the same party Mr Pasquale Naso, and later also from Mr Carlo Parisi, vice president of the National Federation of the Press (FNSI) and secretary of the Union of Journalists of Calabria.

As Mr Parisi writes in statement: “ it is not possible anymore to continue thinking of silencing a journalist with threats and criminal actions. Michael Mr Inserra does nothing more than report and, apparently, he does well enough since through his investigations can raise such a fuss.”

PREVIOUS INCIDENTS – Already in the past Mr Inserra had received various intimidations, all reported to the prosecutors, but not all made ​​public. He also received at the office an envelope with the clipping of one of his articles and a 12-caliber cartridge. On another occasion he received an anonymous letter full of threats. And yet in another episode, unidentified persons broke his car’s windows and nicked his bag containing documents and his computer. Finally, a magistrate has sued him thirteen times.


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