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What is going on in Italy – Safety Net Ossigeno – 7th – 13th March 2014

The sixth 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 7th – 13th March 2014
What happened in Italy: threatened journalists and obscured news 

The fact of the week is a lawsuit that appears to be quite specious: the journalist Claudio Pappaianni, a collaborator of the weekly L’Espresso, has been threatened with a libel suit by the well known owner of a large hotel, already convicted of aiding and abetting the Camorra who has also starred in a successful TV show. The same hotelier has furthermore threatened to sue a TV reporter from the local broadcaster of the Campania region PiùEnne who interviewed him, warning the reporter from posting any news on the subject. The journalist of L’Espresso, Mr Claudio Pappaianni, reported in his article the on-going investigations that are trying to determine any possible business relations between the hotelier and the boss of the Nuova Camorra Organizzata, Mr Raffaele Cutolo. The newsroom of PiùEnne dismissed the warning by broadcasting the video interview in which threats are vented, making it available also on its website. But a few days later, the video was removed from the broadcaster’s website, because of the editor’s decision taken for reasons of editorial policy that are as yet unclear. “This case shows how in Italy the complaints are used as a substitute for denials or corrections”, the director of Ossigeno per l’Informazione said.

During the same few days, the blog of the 5 Star Movement led by Beppe Grillo, continued in its months-long campaign of singling out fastidious journalists, the likes of which have been likened to a media pillory. The latest to join this list was the journalist Mr Roberto Galullo from the Sole24Ore, who is an expert on organized crime.

There have been numerous new episodes that confirm the widespread intolerance of public officials against journalists: the former mayor of Pescara has announced a lawsuit against the daily Il Fatto Quotidiano for an article of February 26th concerning legal proceedings in which the mayor was involved, and signed by Mr Francesco Ridolfi. The secretary of the mayor of the city of Imperia has banned journalists from attending a public meeting between unions, regional councillor for the environment and the mayor. The President of the Region of Puglia, Mr Nichi Vendola, decided to proceed with the lawsuit requesting damages against Il Giornale d’Italia – directed by Francesco Storace – for two articles that he believes to be defaming.

Even amongst sports reporters new problems have sprung up: six local newspapers of Arezzo (Tuscany) are deserting the press conferences of the football team of the town to protest against the discriminatory procedures for accreditation and for the prohibition from holding individual interviews with the players.

On top of all this, there have been two episodes that are reminiscent of the climate of intimidation of the “lead years” (70s-beginning 80s) dominated by terrorist attacks. Two anonymous letters signed by the “New Italian Brigades”, containing bullets and threats against journalists and politicians, have been intercepted on March 4th at the Post Office sorting centre of Roserio, a district of Milan.

In the meantime the debate on the case of L’Ora della Calabria continues to rage: the newspaper had its printing press stopped for a sudden breakdown on which the judiciary is investigating. The editor, Mr Luciano Regolo, has sued for libel Mr Umberto De Rose, the newspaper’s printer, because of some statements. This is the latest episode in a story that began with the complaint of an attempt to censor news relative to investigations on the son of the senator from the New Centre Right party, Mr Antonio Gentile, who, as a consequence, has been discharged from an important government post.

And how do journalists live in this climate? Mr Paolo Boldrini, editor of La Gazzetta di Mantova, a daily inundated with lawsuits and claims for damages, explained to Ossigeno that the lawsuit has become a weapon “for intimidating and extorting money”.

Fortunately, there are some good news: the Court of Review of Palermo has cancelled the seizure, ordered ​​on February 20th, of the computer and the mobile of the journalist Mr Riccardo Lo Verso, reporter for Live Sicilia. The Prosecutor’s Office of Cassino has requested the dismissal of the aggravated defamation lawsuit filed last November by the Mayor of Formia (Latina), Mr Sandro Bartolomeo, against the journalist Mr Francesco Furlan. The magistrate of Palermo has archived a defamation lawsuit against the journalists Mr Antonio Condorelli and Mr Alfio Musarra and the editor of the monthly S, Mr Francesco Foresta, which had been presented by Mr Vincenzo Ercolano, the brother of one of the killers of Mr Pippo Fava.

Equally encouraging is the fact that the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Mr Nils Muižnieks, said to be an “ally” of those who in Italy want to fight against intimidations to journalists and threats to freedom of information. Mr Muižnieks gave his assurance during a meeting in Rome with representatives of the Order of Journalists, the FNSI, UsigRai and Ossigeno per l’Informazione.

Naples. “The Boss of Ceremonies” files a  lawsuit against L’Espresso journalist

“He’ll pay dearly” Don Tonino Polese said referring to Mr Claudio Pappaianni for an article mentioning wiretaps of Mr Raffaele Cutolo.

“It’s impossible that Mr Raffaele Cutolo was able to say these things. We have already sued the journalist who wrote it. He must prove that what he reported was true, or he’ll pay dearly. I’ll spend all the necessary money to set things right. These are journalist inventions.” These threatening words were uttered by Don Antonio Polese with reference to the journalist Claudio Pappaianni, collaborator of the weekly L’Espresso; while he also threatened to sue Ms Veronica Bencivenga, the journalist who was recording his statements. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Pappaianni case. PiùEnne removes interview to Polese

The hotelier had threatened a legal action against the two journalists. The publisher of the broadcaster from Campania: “no interviews with hidden cameras”.

The broadcaster from the Campania region, PiùEnne, has removed from its website an interview by the journalist Ms Veronica Bencivenga of Don Antonio Polese, a hotel owner and television presenter who, during the same interview, had threatened to sue her and the collaborator of the weekly L’Espresso, Mr Claudio Pappaianni. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Lawsuit against Pappaianni reveals allergy to journalism. The comment

“This case shows how in Italy the complaints are considered a substitute for rectifications and corrections”, the director of Ossigeno says.

As the director of Ossigeno per l’Informazione said “These are considered the only possible responses to the work of the journalist, and in recent weeks we have seen several cases, from Sicily to the Veneto, all events that show the allergy against those who do investigative journalism”. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Grillo’s Blog against Roberto Galullo. And insults follow

The journalist of the Sole24Ore recalls the insults and the death threats. “Seeing my profession mocked kills me worse than a gunshot could”.

Regularly for months the blog of Beppe Grillo continues to point out journalists and opinion writers who in their press articles, analyses and commentaries express unwelcome opinions on the 5 Star Movement. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Former mayor of Pescara threatens lawsuit against the daily Il Fatto Quotidiano

Mr Luciano D’Alfonso has described as “a pornographic reading of the proceedings” the article published on February 26th that took on the judicial events that involved him.

The former mayor of Pescara, Mr Luciano D’Alfonso, a candidate from the ranks of the Democratic Party for President of the Abruzzo region in next May’s elections, said that he was ready to file a lawsuit against the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano for an article of February 26th signed by Mr Francesco Ridolfi. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Imperia: secretary of the mayor prevents access to journalists

No admittance was given to journalists for a meeting between Tradeco unions, the environment commissioner of the region of Liguria and the mayor. “It is not the first time that this happens” the Imperia Post complains.

“We were not allowed to document the meeting between the delegation of the workers of Tradeco, the environment deputy of the Liguria region Ms Renata Briano and the Mayor of Imperia Mr Carlo Capacci, impeding us to exercise our right to report”. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Defamation: Vendola asks mediation to Storace and Il Fatto Quotidiano

At the issue’s heart there is the laughter heard from the phone call with Mr Archinà. The instrument of conciliation before the civil case is again mandatory since September 20th , 2013.

Mr Nichi Vendola considered defamatory two articles published in the Giornale d’Italia, edited by Francesco Storace, and decided to proceed through the institution of civil mediation. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Strike of silence for six newspapers against Arezzo Football Club

Local newspapers have deserted the team’s press conference in protest against the accreditation procedures and the prohibition of individual interviews.

“Strike of silence” for six local newspapers, TV broadcasters and online magazines, against the Arezzo football club (which plays in the national championship Serie D). (continua a leggere in italiano)

Milan. Bullets and threats to journalists and politicians

Discovered in the Roserio sorting centre. They were addressed to some senators and Franco di Mare and Gerardo Greco (RAI).

Two bullets and two letters signed “New Italian Brigades” containing threats to journalists and politicians have been intercepted on March 4th at the Post Office sorting centre of the Milan district of Roserio. The event was reported by the newspaper Il Giorno on the pages of the Milan edition and on the online version on March 6th. The Police are investigating in order to find out the sender. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Editor of L’Ora della Calabria files lawsuit against printer

Mr Luciano Regolo cites for defamation Mr Umberto De Rose. “I did not participate to any conspiracies, nor to any media orgy”, he says.

The editor of L’Ora della Calabria, Mr Luciano Regolo, sued for defamation his newspaper’s printer, Mr Umberto De Rose, for some statements released in an interview. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Giornale di Mantova editor: “lawsuits are like gunshots”

Mr Paolo Boldrini explains to Ossigeno why specious lawsuits are increasing: “There is today a rampant immorality of those who threaten and ask for money for no reason”.

“The lawsuit is a weapon that is used to intimidate and extort money” is the judgment of Paolo Boldrini, editor of the Giornale di Mantova, a daily swamped by lawsuits and subpoenas. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Lo Verso case: the seizure of computers and mobile phones cancelled

The decision of the Court of Review of Palermo following the events of February 20th against the journalist of Live Sicilia.

“I’m happy because I’ve always felt it was an unjust measure that was going to affect my work as a journalist and the entire profession”, Mr Riccardo Lo Verso told Ossigeno while commenting on the annulment by the Court of Review of Palermo on the seizure of his mobile, pc and pen drive occurred on February 20th. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Defamation. Formia. Prosecutor calls for archiving lawsuit against Furlan

The journalist who manages the website h24notizie.com was denounced by the mayor Sandro Bartolomeo.

The Prosecutor’s Office of Cassino (in the Frosinone province) on January 17th has requested the dismissal of the aggravated defamation lawsuit filed in November 2013 by the Mayor of Formia (Latina), Mr Sandro Bartolomeo, against the journalist Mr Francesco Furlan. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Judge for the preliminary investigations of Palermo archives the lawsuit on the boss’s son

Vincenzo Ercolano, brother of the killer of Pippo Fava, had denounced the journalists Condorelli and Musarra. The magistrate: “the article respects the facts”.

The magistrate of Palermo has ordered the archiving of the lawsuit for defamation brought forward by Mr Vincenzo Ercolano, son of the powerful boss Pippo and brother of Aldo, who was one of the killers of Pippo Fava, against journalists Mr Antonio Condorelli and Mr Alfio Musarra and the editor responsible of the monthly S, Mr Francesco Foresta. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Journalists. Muižnieks will be representative against intimidations in Italy

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe met in Rome with representatives of the Order of Journalists, the FNSI, UsigRai and

“If I understand correctly the main problems that affect journalists and that restrict the freedom of information in Italy are two: the frivolous lawsuits and complaints, and an attitude, that could be defined predatory, of many publishers”, the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Nils Muižnieks, said while summarizing the situation described by Mr Alberto Spampinato, editor of Ossigeno per l’Informazione, Mr Enzo Iacopino, president of the Order of Journalists, Mr Giovanni Rossi, President of the FNSI and Mr Vittorio Di Trapani, president of UsigRai during a meeting in Rome at the FNSI headquarters. (continua a leggere in italiano)


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