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What is going on in Italy – Safety Net Ossigeno – 21st – 27th February 2014

The fourth of 48 weekly reports produced with the support of the European Union and distributed in eleven countries to promote a common understandingSafety Net Ossigeno – Weekly Report 21st – 27th February 2014
What happened in Italy: threatened journalists and obscured news

The fact of the week is an obvious censorship attempt implemented through an abuse of libel laws. The protagonist is the mayor of a major city of northern Italy, who has accused of libel Mr Sigfrido Ranucci, an investigative journalist that has garnered negative information about him on a confidential basis. Mr Renato Brunetta, a leading member of Silvio Berlusconi’s party, has sided with the mayor of Verona and has asked the government to restrict journalistic activities and in particular those relating to investigative journalism. In these days a number of complaints using a pretentious and intimidating language have reached journalists. These have mostly been sent by politicians who cannot tolerate the circulation of unfavourable news, even if these are drawn from acts of judicial or police investigations: a barbarous use of the complaint for defamation and the liability for damages what seems to be used as if these were a way to strengthen a correction. In this respect, two complaints have been filed against the weekly magazine L’Espresso. The first is a lawsuit announced by the MP of the Democratic Party Mr Francesco Boccia against the journalist Mr Emiliano Fittipaldi for a documented article in which it was described how a “power network” had been created by the left-wing man, together with his wife Nunzia De Girolamo, a right-wing parliamentarian who was not but to a month ago a Minister of the Republic, a post from which she resigned after a scandal that revealed her questionable actions relative to the management of some local public affairs. Another complaint that affects L’Espresso is a civil lawsuit brought by the former prime minister Mr Massimo D’Alema, who asked for 70 thousand euros in damages to the journalist Mr Lirio Abbate, for an article published in September 2013 in which his name, that of other politicians and of some busybodies involved in an investigation for murky practices of public tenders, have been put together.

Meanwhile, a blogger has been sentenced to one year in prison for a republished article from L’Espresso. It should be emphasized that the journalist who wrote the article, on the other hand, has been acquitted. I was a serious cause for concern the blitz-search occurred at the expense of the judiciary journalist from Livesicilia.it, Mr Riccardo Lo Verso, shortly after the publication, on the morning of the same day, of an article in which he revealed that the Mafia boss Mr Vito Roberto Palazzolo, considered the treasurer of the Corleone clan, had been questioned. Mr Lo Verso had already been the object of yet another search warrant just three months before. In Florence, the journalist of the Corriere Fiorentino Mr Antonio Passanese, was cornered in a threatening manner and photographed with smartphones by a group of women at the train station of Santa Maria Novella. The journalist Mr Salvo Bella has reported receiving threats from an entrepreneur from Bergamo to prevent the spread of his book on the unsolved murder of the thirteen-year-old Yara Gambirasio, who died in 2010. The judiciary opened an investigation after the editor of the newspaper L’Ora della Calabria had denounced receiving pressures for censoring an article and the sudden block of the printing presses that prevented the publishing of the newspaper. In Venezuela, the Italian chronicler Mr Gianfranco Giacomantonio was arrested in Maracay while shooting video footage of the clashes between police and protesters. He has been released immediately.

Defamation. Report against Tosi, Ranucci sued

The mayor of Verona cites the journalist from the RAI programme, who apparently tried to fabricate false evidence through illegal methods and public money. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Report-Tosi case: Brunetta presents urgent inquiry

It was presented to the Prime Minister Mr Renzi and the Ministers Orlando and Guidi, asking to take disciplinary regulations for a more detailed and rigorous journalistic activity.

The chairman of the Members of Forza Italia, Mr Renato Brunetta, filed an urgent inquiry to the premier Mr Matteo Renzi and the Ministers of Justice, Mr Andrew Orlando, and for the Economic Development, Ms Federica Guidi, relative to the Report/Tosi case. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Complaints. Boccia (PD) on LA7 announces action against L’Epresso

The politician was offended by Emiliano Fittipaldi’s investigation into the alleged “power network” set up with his wife Nunzia De Girolamo.

The chairman of the House Budget Committee, Mr Francesco Boccia (PD) sued L’Espresso for an investigation published in the issue of January, 17th concerning an alleged “power network” woven by him and his wife, Ms Nunzia De Girolamo, who was also a former Minister of Agriculture. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Complaints. D’Alema wants €70’000 from Lirio Abbate

The journalist announced on his Facebook profile that the former Prime Minister had launched a legal civil action against him.

Mr Massimo D’Alema, a politician, former editor of the daily L’Unità and former Prime Minister, has asked for 70 thousand euros in damages to the journalist Mr Lirio Abbate from L’Espresso. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Defamation: journalist acquitted, blogger convicted

Mr Riccardo Bocca was accused in 2012. Imprisonment for those who had republished the same article in its entirety on their website.

Same complaints for defamation because of an article, but different outcomes: one is the acquittal of a journalist and the other the condemnation of the blogger who had reproduced in full on his website the offending news. It is the bizarre story of which MB, from Campania, is a victim, sentenced to one year of imprisonment, without any benefit of the law, for having harmed the reputation of a magistrate on duty at the court of Catanzaro, Ms Abigail Mellace. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Sicily. Mr Riccardo Lo Verso searched again

The DIA of Palermo in search of the origin of a “leak” from the interrogation of Mr Vito Roberto Palazzolo, believed to be the treasurer of the Corleone clan.

The newsroom of the online news site form Palermo Livesicilia.it and the home of the journalist Mr Riccardo Lo Verso were searched in the afternoon of February 20th by officers from the Anti-Mafia Investigation Department of the Sicilian capital, after the publication, on the previous morning, of an article that revealed the content of the interrogation of Mr Vito Roberto Palazzolo, believed to be the treasurer of the Corleone clan, made ​​by the public prosecutor in Milan Mr Gaetano Paci. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Florence. Reporter assaulted and photographed in the train station

A reporter was cornered and photographed on smartphones by a group of Roma women at the station of Santa Maria Novella: “So we can recognize you”.

“Now we know who you are. Now we can recognize you” they shouted as they tried to wrest the smartphone from the hands of the journalist Mr Antonio Passanese of the Corriere Fiorentino, the regional Tuscan edition of the national Corriere della Sera, has been threatened and assaulted by a group of young Roma women in the train station of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, on February 18th . (continua a leggere in italiano)

Bergamo: threats and censorship for a book on the Yara murder

An email to the publisher announced plans to stop in every way the report-book by Mr Salvo Bella from being distributed

“I’m willing to do anything for this fucking book not to come out” was written in an email received on the evening of February 23rd by the Edicom Group, publisher of the book Yara, horrors and false leads, on the murder of Yara Gambirasio, the girl from Brembate (in the province of Bergamo) who disappeared on the evening of 26th November 2010, and whose body was found in a field four months later. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Venezuela. Italian journalist arrested and then released

Mr Gianfranco Di Giacomantonio (Abruzzo24ore.tv) was stopped in Maracay while filming clashes between police and protesters.

The journalist from the website of information Abruzzo24ore.tv, Mr Gianfranco Di Giacomantonio, was arrested while filming a demonstration in the city of Maracay, Venezuela. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Editor of Ora della Calabria “subjection mentality is damaging”

Mr Luciano Regolo has denounced the pressures for not publishing an unwelcome article and the blocking of the daily’s printing: the prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation.

“It is intolerable for such a young publisher to receive similar pressures, all the more since this is a delicate moment for him because of the difficulties that his family is facing”: the editor of the newspaper from Cosenza L’Ora della Calabria, Mr Luciano Regolo, after denouncing the impossibility to bring out the newspaper on newsstands February 19th (officially because of a rotary failure), delves into the incident by reporting the damages brought by the subservience mentality and reiterating the request for the Attorney to shed light on the matter. (continua a leggere in italiano)


*“Safety Net Ossigeno” is the weekly report that Ossigeno per l’Informazione produces in 2014 for the European project “Safety Net for European Journalists. A transnational network support for media freedom in Italy and Southeast Europe”

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