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What is going in Italy – Safety Net Ossigeno – May, 23th – 29th 2014

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

Safety Net Ossigeno – Weekly Report May, 23th-29th 2014
What happened in Italy: threatened journalists and obscured news 

Cars set on fire. Threatening letters. Reporters pushed away by violent means from a public square. Complaints in response to news articles. Trials for defamation that last twelve years. Defendants tried for mafia asking the judges to condemn the journalists who revealed the story for which they are facing justice. There have been many intimidations in the week marked by the mourning of the death of the photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli, called Andy.

Mr Andrea Rocchelli was a freelance respected for his work and his courage. He was thirty years old. He was killed on May, 24th in Slaviansk, north of Donetsk, where he had gone to document the clashes in Ukraine. He lost his life along with his companion and interpreter Andrey Mironov, journalist and political activist. Ossigeno recalls that Andy is the sixteenth Italian information operator to have lost his life abroad while performing his work in places where wars and conflicts rage. The latest Italian victim was Vittorio Arrigoni, who was killed in Gaza in 2011.

THREATS – The night of May, 23rd in Nuoro the car of Mr Luce Urgu, chronicler for the Unione Sarda, has been on fire. It is the second act of intimidation against the journalist who deals with crime and judicial news.

On May 28th, in Rome, the journalist from La Repubblica Mr Enrico Bellavia has received a threat letter similar to that of June 2012. Again, he has been intimated not to interview the mafia pentito Mr Franco Di Carlo on the so-called state-mafia talks.

In Partinico (near Palermo), the Sicilian historian Mr Giuseppe Casarrubea denounced for threats, libel and slander an old member of the youth revolt of the sixties, Mr Melchiorre Gerbino, who wrote on his website that Casarrubea should not meddle in such matters, and that he should “keep his mouth shut, so that it wont end up with a stone in it”.

INSULTS – In Milan, on Monday May, 19th the journalist of La Repubblica TV Mr Tiziano Scolari was pushed away with insults and shoves from near the Central Station of Milan, where the cameraman was documenting the protest of taxi drivers on strike.

In Sant’Anastasìa (near Naples) on May, 15th the journalist Mr Francesco De Rosa was covered with insults during a pre-election public debate. He had asked the candidate for mayor, Mr Raffaele Abete, what he would have done do if his uncle, a former mayor arrested in December 2013 on charges of having pocketed a bribe from a businessman, was found guilty of corruption.

During the election campaign for the European Parliament, the reporter for Il Manifesto, and also a candidate, Ms Giuliana Sgrena, denounced new threats and insults that have arrived on Facebook for an article she wrote in which she criticized the handling of the case of the two marines arrested India.

WARNINGS – The journalist Ms Gabriella Bellini has been showered with threats and warnings since she reported on the local Campania daily Metropolis the circumstances and background of the arrest for corruption of the mayor of the town of Somma Vesuviana (in the province of Naples). On May, 19th the journalist has reported to the police the latest threats.

LAWSUITS – In Prato on May, 21st the City Councillor for Social Policies, Mr Dante Mondanelli, reacted with a threat of lawsuit to the articles of the journalist Ms Stella Spinelli, contributor to the online site Pratosfera. The journalist wrote that twenty-two families cannot enter the housing assigned to them because the City has not produced the documents necessary to enable the utilities.

In Abano Terme (near Padova) on May 7th, Andrea Cosentino, councillor of Abano Terme, has withdrawn one of three libel suits against the magazine of the Euganean Spas InformAbano. He did it a few hours before the hearing. The withdrawn lawsuit refers to an article published in October 2008. An earlier lawsuit had already been dismissed by the courts. The third lawsuit continues its course.

CONDEMNATION – The court of Benevento sentenced the journalist Marco Travaglio to pay a compensation of €10.000 for defaming the former minister Clemente Mastella with an article published in the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano in November 23rd, 2010.

The new initiative by the political leader of the Five Star Movement, Beppe Grillo, who would like to promote a public trial against reporters, has aroused strong reactions. The chairman of the National Order of Journalists, Mr Enzo Iacopino, asked to stop the “verbal violence that threatens to have serious consequences.” The FNSI Secretary said that with these statements Grillo announces “the idea of ​​an updated future fascism”.

The Director of Ossigeno, for whom these arrogant denials of the freedom of the press deserve a firm public reaction, reported the intimidating attitude of various defendants from mafia crimes, who in the course of some trials have launched attacks against journalists. To bring back the issue were the threatening statements uttered on Friday, May, 16th in Bologna, in court by an accused of criminal association against the journalist Giovanni Tizian.

NEVERENDING TRIALS – After twelve years, the trial against the journalists Paolo Chiariello, Giuliano Ferrara, Augusto Minzolini and Carlo Rossella, accused of libel by three judges for some articles published in Panorama, has not yet reached a conclusion.

ENDED TRIALS – The court of Naples has filed the complaints lodged in 2012 by the former director of the Museo Madre, Mr Eduardo Cicelyn. He denounced, among others, Ottavio Lucarelli (journalist for Repubblica and OdG Campania president) and the journalists Mirella Armiero (Corriere del Mezzogiorno) and Gerardo Ausiello (Il Mattino).

Ukraine. Andrea Rocchelli is the 27th Italian reporter killed
He was 30 years old, and came from Pavia. His history. The sympathy of friends, authorities and Ossigeno. The list of victims. How many journalists killed worldwide in 2014.
Andrea Rocchelli, called Andy, the 30 years old photojournalist killed along with his interpreter, Andrey Mironov (journalist and political activist), in Slaviansk, north of Donetsk, Ukraine, on May, 24th. He is the sixteenth Italian information operator who lost his life abroad during the course of his work. The last was in 2011, Vittorio Arrigoni. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Andy and the need to go where everything was happening
A friend recalls Andrea Rocchelli, the photographer of Pavia killed in Ukraine on May, 24th. He already had bad experiences. But he was always off again with enthusiasm.
“Before he left for the Ukraine I told Andy: do not go there, everything is going to blow up. No, I replied, I and Andrey must go.” (continua a leggere in italiano)

Nuoro. Car of Unione Sarda journalist burned
This is the second time that Mr Luce Urgu is intimidated. The intent is clear. Solidarity from Assostampa and Sardinian reporters union asking rapid investigations.
The night of May, 23rd in Nuoro the car of Luca Urgu, chronicler for Unione Sarda, has been set on fire. This is the second act of intimidation against a journalist engaged in the inquiry on crime and judicial facts of Nuoro. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Mafia. New threats to Bellavia, a journalist from Repubblica
Threats in order to block interviews with the mafia turncoat, Franco Di Carlo, on the background of the state-mafia negotiations. He had already received two years ago a similar intimidation in Palermo.
A new anonymous letter containing threats came to La Repubblica journalist Mr Enrico Bellavia, after the first in June 2012. Once again the intimidation came for the interview of the repentant Franco Di Carlo on the State-Mafia negotiations, and on which Bellavia was working. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Threats to Casarrubea: “Shut up or you will end up with a stone in your mouth”
The threats were written by Melchiorre Gerbino, sued by two journalists who have been the object to derogatory slurs and judgments. At the origin some articles on neo-fascism.
The Sicilian historian Mr Giuseppe Casarrubea denounced of threats, libel and slander Mr Melchiorre Gerbino, who calls himself “the leader of the youth revolt in Italy”, during the period of dispute, because a few days ago, in an article published on its site, he advised Casarrubea to “keep your mouth shut, so that you will not end up with a stone in it”. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Milan. Journalist films strike, taxi drivers insult him
Tiziano Scolari of La Repubblica TV was recording the protests against an abusive driver. He was dismissed in a brisk manner. The video on the site of the daily.
The journalist of La Repubblica TV Mr Tiziano Scolari was insulted and turned away rudely from near the Central Station of Milan, where, on Monday 19th May he was recording with the camera the protest of taxi drivers on strike against Uber, the online company in competition with the taxi service that offers car rentals with drivers. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Campania. Journalist insulted while moderating the debate
Francesco De Rosa was interviewing the candidates for mayor of St. Anastasìa (near Naples). The attack after a question about the court case of the former mayor.
The journalist Mr Francesco De Rosa on May 15th was insulted during a public pre-election debate in the City of St. Anastasìa (in the province of Naples) for asking the candidate for mayor Raffaele Abete, nephew of the former Mayor Carmine Esposito, how he would behave in case his uncle is finally, following allegations for bribes in December 2013 for which he has been arrested. (continua a leggere in italiano)

New threats and insults against Giuliana Sgrena on Facebook
“Watch your back”, “Murderer”: these are threats launched against the journalist and candidate with list with L’Altra Europa con Tsipras, for her articles on the death of Calipari and on the Marò case.
After two years from the threats she has received for an article on the two marines arrested in India, the journalist of Il Manifesto Giuliana Sgrena has suffered intimidations and insults expressed in comments posted on her public profile on Facebook. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Campania. Warning to Metropolis journalist
“Write less” was the message sent to tell Ms Gabriella Bellini, who described the background of the arrest of the mayor of St. Anastasìa (near Naples) for a bribe.
Ms Gabriella Bellini, journalist for the Campania daily Metropolis and editor of Provinciaonline.info, on May 19th filed a complaint against unknown persons to the Carabinieri of Somma Vesuviana (in the province of Naples) for a threat message received in the preceding days as the culmination of a series of attacks that began when she reported the circumstances and the background of the arrest for corruption of the mayor of the nearby town of Somma Vesuviana. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Prato. Councillor announces lawsuit in the election campaign
Stella Spinelli had told him that despite a ceremony organized by the City, 22 families did not have access to public housing.
The former Councillor for Social Policies of the town of Prato, Dante Mondanelli on May 21st of last year (when he was Councillor yet), he threatened on Facebook to sue the journalist Ms Stella Spinelli, contributor to the online site Pratosfera, which reported that twenty-two families are not eligible for public housing because they lack some of the documents of the municipality needed to activate the utilities. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Abano Terme. The three complaints to Informabano editor
A lawsuit has been withdrawn. For another the magazine was acquitted. A third is still ongoing. “We might have to close”, the editor says.
On May 7th, a few hours before the hearing scheduled for the next day, Andrea Cosentino, councillor of Abano Terme, has withdrawn a defamation lawsuit against the magazine of the Euganean Spas InformAbano(continua a leggere in italiano)

Defamation. Travaglio condemned against Mastella
The court of Benevento sentenced Marco Travaglio to a compensation of €10.000 for defamation against Clemente Mastella in an article published on Il Fatto Quotidiano on November, 23rd 2010. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Iacopino and Siddi against Grillo for the trial against journalists
“Such verbal violence is likely to have serious consequences”, says the president of the Order. For the FNSI secretary it is “the idea of ​​an updated soon-to-be fascism”.
Grillo imagines a castle with secret doors in which to close politicians, businessmen and journalists, waiting for a “popular media trial” with lists of suspects, evidence, witnesses, indictments and final judgment to be pronounced through online voting by a popular jury of “certified” members of the 5 Star Movement. (continua a leggere in italiano)

What if the defendant says: “punish the journalist”? A comment
The invectives against Tizian after the attacks at the Giacalone hearing, and those of 2008 against Capacchione and Saviano, require public positions to be taken
On Friday, May 16th, in Bologna, during a hearing, Mr Nicola Femia, accused of mafia association and detained for 14 months, railed against judges and journalists menacingly. He said that it is not fair to blame him, and that it is the journalists who need to be punished for their news articles which have put him in trouble with justice. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Defamation. Twelve-year trial, and it is not over yet
The four journalists already acquitted in the first and second degree for articles published in 2002 on Panorama will probably go before the Supreme Court
How long does a trial for libel in Italy last? Very long in general. For example, the trial against the journalists Paolo Chiariello, Giuliano Ferrara, Augusto Minzolini and Carlo Rossella, accused of libel by three judges for some articles published in Panorama, began twelve years ago and is still not finished. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Naples. Archived lawsuits of former director of Museo Madre
The court of Naples has archived the complaints by the former director of the Museo Madre of the City, Mr Eduardo Cicelyn, who had denounced, among others, Ottavio Lucarelli (journalist of La Repubblica and OdG Campania president) and the colleagues Mirella Armiero (Corriere del Mezzogiorno) and Gerardo Ausiello (Il Mattino). (continua a leggere in italiano)

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