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What is going on in Italy – Safety Net Ossigeno –28th February – 6th March 2014

The fifth of the 48 weekly reports produced with the support of the European Union and distributed in eleven countries to promote a common understanding

Safety Net Ossigeno- Weekly Report 28th February – 6th March 2014
What happened in Italy: threatened journalists and obscured news

The most important news of the week comes from the premier Mr Matteo Renzi, the first prime minister to ever speak about journalists under threat in Italy expressing his “closeness” to them, while new intimidations occur every day.

More mysterious threats have come to Basilicata24.it. This time, someone left a message at the office front door containing death threats to the journalist Mr Michele Finizio.

Numerous episodes on the same day confirmed the widespread intolerance of public officials against journalists. A reporter from Campania, Ms Teresa Santillo, was the victim of a strong verbal attack from the Councillor for the Environment of the City of San Tammaro, in the province of Caserta, who then ordered to take her out of the town hall. In those same days there were two similar incidents: one in Ispica (Sicily), where some journalists were excluded from a public meeting to which they were invited; in Bitonto, in Apulia, during the public session of the city council a cameraman from PuntoTV was forced to stop shooting.

Another episode underlines the difficulty of publishing news regarding a magistrate in office without committing the crime of defamation: six journalists have been indicted on charges of insulting the reputation of the former prosecutor of Bari, Mr Antonio Laudati, after he sued them. In Sicily, on the other hand, there are issues related to the right to defend the reputation of people who enjoy a bad reputation. Over forty families of victims of the Mafia, in an open letter, have asked the question by declaring solidarity to the journalist Rino Giacalone, sued for libel by the widow of the mob boss Mariano Agate because of a contemptuous tone used in summarizing the criminal’s career. The petitioners are asking whether it makes sense to invoke the law to defend the reputation of a mobster who has been found guilty of serious crimes.

The complaints by the editor Mr Luciano Regolo of the daily L’Ora della Calabria, in the meanwhile, have had a real impact on the composition of the government, as a direct consequence of the censorship attempt. The clamour of the case and the attention of the wider national press have led to the resignation of the Senator Antonio Gentile from the office of Secretary of Transport of the Renzi Government. Mr Gentile, however, rejected the accusation of having put pressure on so as to prevent the publication of the news that his son was being investigated by the judiciary, relative to the issue of the newspaper that wasn’t printed due to a sudden failure of the rotary. An episode on which investigations are still under way.

The European Union must do more to protect freedom of the press and the personal safety of journalists. This is the request by Ossigeno per l’Informazione at the conference on “Violent and hidden censorship: the virus that is infecting the freedom of the press”, hosted at the Italian Institute of Culture in Brussels, and which was attended by the director of the Observatory, Mr Alberto Spampinato, and the journalist Ms Ester Castano.

Renzi speaks about threatened journalists. It’s a turning point. The comment

For the first time a prime minister has put the topic on the political agenda. It is the beginngin for addressing the problems.

The “many threatened journalists, who are often insecure, and too often are left completely alone” feel a little less alone after the words of the President of the Council, Matteo Renzi, who expressed his “closeness, support” to them and to all those who, like Roberto Saviano, have “made ​​the word an instrument of freedom and change”. (Continua a leggere in italiano)

Basilicata24.it: yet more death threats to Michael Finizio

The online magazine directed by Giusy Cavallo continues to be targeted, this time with a message left in front of the office door.

New episode of intimidation against the online news site Basilicata24.it: on February 28th, under the rug in front of the main office door, someone had left a message containing death threats to the journalist Mr Michael Finizio, who had already received personal threats in the past. (Continua a leggere in italiano)

Campania. Journalist expelled from City Council Hall

A commissioner has verbally attacked the reporter Teresa Santillo, who is considering whether to submitting a formal notice. “It’s unacceptable, and I ask for a public apology”.

“You’ve got to get out of here, you’re not a journalist, where’s your card?”.” With these words, on February 25th, the professional journalist Ms Teresa Santillo, a collaborator for the Nuova Gazzetta di Caserta, was verbally attacked the Councillor for the Environment in San Tammaro (Caserta), Mr Gennaro Borrozzino. (Continua a leggere in italiano)

Sicily: press pushed away from Town Hall of Ispica

The CNA invited the press to attend the meeting with the mayor, who after a few pictures saw them out. The confederation of artisans: “we’re sorry”. Still silence from the City Council.

At issue was the expansion of the cemetery lots. The local National Confederation of artisans had invited the press to attend the meeting with the mayor of Ispica, Mr Piero Rustico, who, after leaving the news operators time to take some pictures, then said: “now let the journalists go outside”. (Continua a leggere in italiano)

In Bitonto video-recording stopped in City Council

In Bitonto a cameraman from PuntoTV was prevented from doing his work. “Two local policemen moved away my camera”, he explained. Solidarity from the Order of Journalists and Assostampa.

“I experienced professional frustration. I was prevented from doing my job and exercising the right to inform.” So said Mr Vito Schiraldi, a cameraman of PuntoTV, a local broadcaster in the Apulia region, recounting what happened last Wednesday, February 26th. (Continua a leggere in italiano)

Puglia. Six journalists Indicted for defamation

They are Mara Chiarelli, Nazareno Dinoi, Gianni Lannes, Massimiliano Scagliarini and, for failure to control, the editors Ezio Mauro and Marco De Marco.

Six journalists were indicted on February 25th by the judge of the preliminary hearing of Lecce, Ms Cinzia Vergine, on charges of insulting the reputation of the former prosecutor of Bari, Mr Antonio Laudati, who had indeed sued. (Continua a leggere in italiano)

Defamation. 40 victims of the Mafia express solidarity with Rino Giacalone

They ask for the complaint by the widow of the boss Mariano Agate, which purports to defend a non-existent good reputation, to be archived.

Forty family relatives of the victims of the Mafia have released an open letter in which they declare solidarity with the Sicilian journalist Mr Rino Giacalone, sued for libel by the widow of the boss Mariano Agate, who died April 3rd, 2013 while serving a life sentence for the slaughter of the Capaci massacre and for seven murders, including that of the judge Giangiacomo Ciaccio Montalto. (Continua a leggere in italiano)

Ora della Calabria becomes a national case. And Gentile resigns

All the media reported the censorship episode reported by the newspaper of Cosenza after the premier Renzi had given the senator of the New Center Right the charge of undersecretary of state.

The senator Antonio Gentile, who was appointed State Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, has resigned following the controversy over the case of the Ora della Calabria, the newspaper from Cosenza that on February 19th reported an episode of censorship directly linked to the MP. (Continua a leggere in italiano)

Journalists. Ossigeno: “May the EU fix protection standards” | Video

The pilot project “Safety Net for European Journalists” extends Italian monitoring to threats in ten other countries.

Brussels, March 5th, 2014 – Assisting at the rise of new forms of censorship that are spreading around the world, it is necessary that the European Union must do more to protect freedom of the press and the personal safety of journalists, bloggers and anyone who spreads information or expresses opinions and criticisms. (Continua a leggere in italiano)

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Questa pubblicazione è stata prodotta con il contributo dell'Unione Europea. La responsabilità sui contenuti di questa pubblicazione è di Ossigeno per l'informazione e non riflette in alcun modo l'opinione dell'Unione Europea. Vai alla pagina del progetto Safety Net

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