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What is going on in Italy – Safety Net Ossigeno- April 25th – May 1st, 2014

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

Safety Net Ossigeno – Weekly Report 25th April – 1st May 2014
What happened in Italy: threatened journalists and obscured news 

The most interesting news of the week comes from Calabria: eight journalists have been convicted for publishing news of ascertained public interest. Prison sentences were imposed on the reporters, then converted into fines of up to three thousand euros, for having reported information drawn from an order of the Judge for the Preliminary Investigation of Salerno, and which had been notified to some people arrested as part of a major judicial inquiry on the ‘Ndrangheta in which three magistrates of the judicial district of Catanzaro were originally involved as suspected of the crime, and which have been later acquitted. The condemnation of the journalists has been possible due to the coexistence of two contradictory laws: the law prohibits the publication of news until the investigation has been formally closed; however there is an exception in specific cases, such as this where there interested parties require notification. This episode confirms the need for an organic intervention of the Italian Parliament for the restoration of order in the laws that restrict journalistic information.

Equally interesting is the indictment, in Abruzzi, of the journalist Ms Cristina Di Stefano, who was accused of disclosing confidential information. On October 26th, 2012, a few hours before the holding of a public competition, the reporter published on the website Aquilatv.it an example of the seventy quiz questions that would have been asked to the candidates: an example of a question that was not among those that would indeed have been presented to the candidates. The journalist received a search warrant and will have to stand trial, despite the public officials who organized the competition (and who are not suspects) have stated that the example in the article could not have affect the outcome of the selection.

DAMAGES, AGGRESSIONS AND THREATS – Two incidents of violent intolerance towards media operators have been reported by the Observatory.

In Florence, on April 24th, the cameraman from Tgt24 Mr Gherardo Miliani, was attacked during a press conference by one of the protesters occupying a former hotel, who dealt him a blow on the camera. A month earlier, in the same place, the occupants had already threatened another journalist.

In Udine, on April 7th, the political scientist Mr Ivan Buttignon, professor of contemporary history at the University of Trieste, received death threats after the public presentation of the essay Magazzino 18 by the singer Simone Cristicchi, in which is recounted the dramatic exodus of the refugees from Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia at the end of the Second World War.

It still remains shrouded in doubt whether on April 30th, in Magenta, near Milan, the car of the journalist Ms Ester Castano has been damaged because of her journalistic activities. Recently, Ms Castano has become a symbol of press freedom for her courageous investigations into mafia infiltrations in the city of Sedriano (in the province of Milan): the city council was indeed sent packing because of mafia infiltrations. For such articles, the former mayor sued the journalist, but the judge found her to be in the right. The car was damaged in the night while it was parked. A few hours before the reporter had attended a meeting at the ANPI club of Inveruno, during which she had been publicly denounced the violence of some neo-fascist groups.

BE FORGOTTEN – The lack of regulation on the so-called right to be forgotten has produced another disproportionate initiative. The weekly Fax, a local newspaper in the province of Bari, republished an old cover from 1999 that announced the arrest of an entrepreneur, without saying that subsequently the same entrepreneur was cleared from all charges. Mr Giovanni Ventrella, the entrepreneur, has instructed his lawyers to sue the newspaper for libel and claim damages of one hundred thousand euros.

DISCRIMINATIONS – On April 29th, the journalists of the newspaper Il Piccolo were deliberately excluded from the public session of the Port Committee of Trieste, which announced the discriminatory measure in a press release. The reporters were able to enter all the same, after protests by some colleagues and the mayor of the city, Mr Roberto Cosolini.

The journalist Íñigo Domínguez, correspondent in Italy for the Spanish daily El Correo, reported that the Cervantes Institute in Rome cancelled without valid reasons the presentation of his book Crónicas de la Mafia, an essay on the history of the criminal organization. The ban has supposedly come from the Spanish embassy following the arrangements struck between the board of the cultural institute and the reporter.

PROTECTION – The number of of journalists in Italy who are forced to live under police protection has increased. A protection plan was assigned to Mr Claudio Fava after reporting to the police of the project of an assassination attempt against him by the mafia clan Ercolano of Catania. Mr Claudio Fava, known investigative journalist, is the son of the journalist Mr Pippo Fava, who was murdered by the Mafia in 1984 in Catania. He has been an MEP, and is currently vice chairman of the Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission.

THE “L’ORA DELLA CALABRIA” CASE – After reporting an incident of censorship (blocking presses, currently the subject of criminal investigations) and the subsequent closure of the newspaper, the Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission showed attention to the events of the daily L’Ora della Calabria. On April 28th, the vertices of the Commission informally received the editor Mr Luciano Regolo and chief reporter Consolato Minniti.

THE DAY OF MAT THE 3rd – During the World Press Freedom Day, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe sent an article to Ossigeno in which he advocates to focus on the need to ensure greater safety for journalists in Europe. In Italy, the day was celebrated in Cagliari, remembering the more than one thousand journalists killed because of their work since 1992.


Eight journalists condemned for disclosing judicial news
The information was obtained by a notice presented to the interested parties. Fines of up to three thousand euros have been handed down, and no questioning. Protests by sector associations.
In Calabria eight journalists have been condemned by the Judge for the Preliminary Investigations of Salerno, Ms Maria Zambrano, to prison terms then converted into fines ranging from one thousand five hundred to three thousand euros, for information, published in 2013, taken from an order of the magistrate of Salerno on the developments of an important judicial inquiry on the ‘Ndrangheta, in which, amongst other things, the ROS unit of the Carabinieri revealed the involvement of three magistrates of the judicial district of Catanzaro, who have been acquitted. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Abruzzi: Reporter under trial for disclosure of secrecy
Prior to a public competition, she had published a question example of the 70 quiz tests. The Ministry: regrettable episode, but no risks.
Ms Cristina Di Stefano, a journalist for the website Aquilatv.it, was prosecuted by the court in L’Aquila on charges of disclosure of public secrecy since in October 26th, 2012 , a few hours before the beginning of a public competition, she had released an online quiz. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Magenta. Damaged the car of journalist Ester Castano
The journalist had moderated a meeting of the ANPI and then went to a concert in an anti-fascist club. She found a window broken with a metal bar.
On the night of Wednesday, April 30th, the car of the journalist Ms Ester Castano has been damaged in Magenta, near Milan, in a parking lot near the entrance of a well-known club of anti-fascist activists. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Florence. Operator TV attacked by occupants of former hotel
Mr Gherardo Miliani, of Tgt24, received a punch on the camera during a press conference outside the premises. A month ago another journalist was threatened there.
He turned the camera on to shoot from a distance the conversation between a mayoral candidate and an occupant of a disused hotel in Florence, but was hit with a fist on the equipment by a young man who had approached him menacingly. (continua a leggere in italiano)

He presents the book by Cristicchi: the scholar receives a death threatened
The political scientist Mr Ivan Buttignon was intimidated on April 7th. A few days later he found a sheet with explicit warnings on the windshield of his car.
Mr Ivan Buttignon, a political scientist and professor of contemporary history at the University of Trieste, received death threats after a presentation at the Feltrinelli bookshop in Udine on April, 7th, of a volume by the singer Simone Cristicchi, Magazzino 1 , which tells the tragic story of the mass exodus from Istria, Fiume and Dalmatia. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Right to be forgotten. A Weekly publishes old cover: is sued
An entrepreneur felt vilified because the magazine revived his arrest in 1999, although he was subsequently cleared from all charges.
The entrepreneur and former city councillor Giovanni Ventrella announced to have given mandate to his lawyers to sue the weekly Fax, a local newspaper in the province of Bari: for libel, in a criminal court, and asking for 100 thousand euros in damage compensations, in civil proceedings. (continua a leggere in italiano).

Trieste. Il Piccolo unwelcome at Port Committee. Protests
Initially the journalists were denied access to the meeting on April 29th. The protests of Order and FNSI: “unacceptable decision”. Only then was the newspaper allowed in.
The Port Committee of Trieste with a press release formally excluded the daily Il Piccolo of Trieste from the meeting of April 29th. (continua a leggere)

Mafia. Police protection assigned to Claudio Fava
The decision came following the report of a planned attack against him by the clan headed by Aldo Ercolano, who has been one of the instigators of the murder of his father.
The journalist Claudio Fava, deputy vice president of SEL party and member of the Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission, was placed under police protection. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Essay on the Mafia, Cervantes Institute prohibits presentation
The journalist Íñigo Domínguez explains that the Spanish ambassador intervened to prohibit the cultural promotion of his book Crónicas de la Mafia
The book Crónicas de la Mafia, an essay on the history of the criminal organization written by Íñigo Domínguez, Italian correspondent for the Spanish daily El Correo, will not be presented at the Cervantes Institute in Rome following a ban by the Spanish embassy, despite the agreements reached earlier between the journalist and the board of the cultural institute. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Anti-Mafia Commission receives delegation from L’Ora della Calabria
Editor and chief reporter from the newspaper of Calabria were received on April 28th in Reggio. “There has been the commitment to receive us in Rome too, for a formal hearing”.
The editor of the daily L’Ora della Calabria Mr Luciano Regolo and the chief reporter Mr Consolato Minniti, were received on the evening of April 28th at the Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission of the regional capital. (continua a leggere in italiano)

May 3. Nils Muiznieks: hands down from the journalists!
The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe has sent this article to Ossigeno for the World Press Freedom Day on May, 3rd. – by Nils Muiznieks
To be a journalist today requires great courage. Over the past year, around the world, hundreds of journalists, photographers and cameramen were killed, wounded, kidnapped, threatened or sued. (continua a leggere in italiano)

May 3. Stop the massacre of the “peace correspondents”
There have been 1054 journalists killed worldwide: two-thirds are local correspondents. How to remember them in the World Press Freedom Day.
More than a thousand journalists have been killed because of their work since 1992. Exactly 1054, according to Reporters Without Borders. (continua a leggere in italiano)


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