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What is going on in Italy – Safety Net Ossigeno – June 6th – 12th, 2014

The nineteenth 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 6th – 12th June 2014
What happened in Italy: threatened journalists and obscured news 

The international institutions that monitor the violations of press freedom in various countries have launched new alarms to the limitations of freedom of information in Italy, reporting to the Government and Parliament of the urgent need for the legislative and administrative attention needed to remove the causes of the threats, abuses and limits to pluralism and completeness of the information. Within two days there were two authoritative comments in this regard. The politicians and the media have made them fall into the void.

Sunday, June 8th, theCorrieredella Sera published an article signed jointly by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Mr NielsMuiznieks, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Press Ms DunjaMijatovic, and the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of the Press Mr Frank La Rue. Then on Tuesday, June 10th, in Geneva, the UN Rapporteur raised the same issues before the Council for Human Rights of the United Nations, where he exposed the problems he encountered during his recent visits to Macedonia and Italy.

These are the main demands made to Italy, both in the article in the Corrieredella Sera, and at the UN Human Rights Council.

Decriminalize defamation. Move on the review of the proposed law on the matter, before parliament for over a year, which provides for the abolition of the prison sentence for libel. Integrating the bill with the necessary rules to align the Italian legislation with international standards, which are more respectful of freedom of the press and the right of expression. In particular, avoid the use of spurious complaints and punish abuses of the law that restrict freedom of expression and information. Without these amendments, they authoritative signatories, would be a wasted opportunity for a the legislative reform on defamation. As evidence of the seriousness of the situation and the necessity of what needs to be done, the representatives of the European institutions and the United Nations have expressly cited the data gathered by Ossigeno. In Geneva, Mr La Rue also reiterated that he considers necessary a more adequate regulation of the conflict of interests.

In Geneva, the Italian delegation responded to the observations of La Rue with a standarddefence. In Rome, no member of the government nor parliament has commented on the recalls or has given any in-depth comment. These international warnings have had no echo in the Italian media. The newspapers and television news programs have not reported to the public that what worriesOssigeno, also worries authoritative international institutions. It is not clear why this happens, but one cannot help but notice this attitude before giving account of the new intimidations recorded in the last days driving up to 217 the number of media workers intimidated in Italy in the first 161 days of 2014 and over 1900 documented from 2006 to today.

In Arzano, in the province of Naples, on May 26th the journalists Giuseppe Bianco and Domenico Rubio were threatened with death by an anonymous letter. The same threats were directed at two policemen who investigate Camorra crimes. In the past, the two journalists had already been threatened. They had received anonymous envelopes containing bullets. The outcome of the investigation is still unknown.

In Florence, the reporter Mario Neri, collaborator of LaRepubblica, went into a nomad camp that has spontaneously sprung up a few months ago in the suburb of Peretola to verify the life conditions in the camp. Some residents of the camp, with violence, forced the reporter to leave. A person threatened him with a knife.

COMPLAINTS – This week also has  seenthe number of complaints, presented to or threatened against reporters, has grown. In Perugia, the the City Council reacted to the airing of a video service on drug dealing on the streets of the city by hiring lawyers and sue for libel the author of the service “L’eroina di Perugia”, aired on May 29th on LA7, and of the show Announo,responsible for the report. The former Councillor for Culture of the City, Mr Andrea Cernicchi, called the news report “criminal”.

In Abruzzo, in Massa d’Alba (near L’Aquila), the mayor has sued Luigi Pelazza, the popular envoy of the television program Le Ieneand the author of a TV report, which presents findings and witnessesproving that the mayor would have consented to illegal building permits. The report contains an interview with the mayor. It was aired on March 5th on the TV channel Italia 1.

The judicial investigation has revealed that many politicians would have received bribes from companies responsible for building the grand system of mobile barriers, also known as MOSE,in the Venice Lagoon. The names of the accused emerge from investigations and interrogations. Despite the signatories of the articles have stated that the accused persons are innocent until their responsibilities have not been confirmed by the courts in subsequent stages of the investigation, a number of politicians have reacted by suing the newspapersand the journalists for libel and have intimated that their names be fefrained from being used. Namely, there were three Forza Italia members: the Senator NiccoloGhedini, the chairman of the party group at the Chamber of Deputies Renato Brunetta, and Gianni Letta, former Undersecretary to the Prime Minister in the Berlusconi government. The newspapers involved in the story are Il FattoQuotidiano,LaRepubblicaand the Gazzettino di Venezia.

POLICE SEARCH – Elena Giacchero is the court reporter of the online newspaper Newsbiella.it. She attended the proceedings of the Court of Justice of Biella, and reported strange events that happen within those walls. A story she uncovered that made headlines was the revelation of a Mozzarella business managed by some employees within the Court’s premises. On May 21st, she suffered a clear intimidation. She was blocked by an agent, who brought her in a small glass-paned room and checked her, with the excuse of looking for a hidden recorder.

BOOKS – It seems that in Italy knowing your personal rights is not very useful. So sometimes dubious episodes occur, like the following: the well-known coach of the national football team, Mr CesarePrandelli, has ordered a publisher not to publish a fiction book written by the journalist Mr Marco Ciriello, reserving the right to request the withdrawal from the market, since the author had stated that the story was inspired by Prandellihimslef. For CesarePrandelliit was unlawful to use his name in that context and without permission. The publisher has kept on printing the book, but removing the over-cover strip with the coach’s name. The text does not mention Prandelli’s name.

After the recent sentence to six years in prison for responsibility in the financial collapse of the Municipality of Reggio Calabria, Giuseppe Scopelliti has resigned as president of the regional council, but did not refrain from threatening the journalists who reported critically on hispublic behaviour. On May 30th, at a press conference, Mr Scopellitihas once again accused the journalist PaoloPollichieni, editor of the Corrieredella Calabria,of having conducted for years, through the newspapers which he directed, an “aggression” against him. The secretary of the Union of Journalists of Calabria, Carlo Parisi, reacted by defining the accusations unfounded and “defaming”.

Defamation. Law must be changed. New appeal to Italy
“Decriminalize” is the request of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and UN Rapporteur for Freedom of the Press, citing data from Ossigeno; by DunjaMijatovic, Nils Muižnieks, Frank La Rue*
When Parliament began the review of the legislation on defamation last October, there were high hopes that Italy would finally be able to realize the long-awaited reform of the legal system concerning freedom of the press in the country. (continua a leggere in italiano)

UN rapporteur in Geneva: “Italy must decriminalize defamation”
The offense of defamation in Italy should be completely decriminalized. This was the request of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr Frank La Rue, in a report on our country presented on June 10th in Geneva at the Human Rights Council of the UN, reiterating the recent request already advanced together by the OSCE and the Council of Europe. (continua a leggere in italiano)

“We’ll shoot you”. Threats to two journalists in Arzano (Naples)
“We’ll shoot you.Mind your own business. Arzano is ours” was written in an anonymous letter sent to the journalists Giuseppe Bianco and Domenico Rubio, and two carabinieri.
“We will put two bullets in your head”. An anonymous letter charged with death threats aimed at two journalists and two policemen was delivered at the home of the columnist Giuseppe Bianco, inArzano (in the province of Naples) on May 26th. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Florence. “Go away or we’ll cut your throat”. Threats against reporterofLaRepubblica
Mario Neri was kicked out with these words and the showing of a knife from the Roma camp that spontaneously spring up in Peretola (a suburb of the city).
“Go away or we’ll cut your throat”, is the threat received by Mario Neri, journalist for the Florentine edition of LaRepubblica, as a boy showed him a penknifeand chased him off theabusive Roma camp created a few months ago in the suburb of Pereto. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Drugs in Perugia. City Council evaluates complaint against Announo
The issue stems from a video report on the sale of drugs in the city. WladimiroBoccali, the mayor who has not been re-elected, speaks of “media pillory”. Lawyers evaluate legal action.
The lawyers of the City Council of Perugia are considering whether there are the conditions to sue Announo, the TV showby ServizioPubblico, for the report “L’eroina di Perugia” aired on May 29th on LA7 and defined as “criminal” by the former Councillor for Culture of the City, Andrea Cernicchi. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Abruzzo. Le Iene report building abuses. Mayor files lawsuit
The envoy LuigiPelazzareconstructed how the first citizen of Massa d’Albe (in the province of L’Aquila) issued doubtful permits.
Mr Giorgio Blasetti, mayor of Massa d’Albe (near L’Aquila) has sued the TV show Le Iene considering himself vilified by the accusation of having allowed violations on building permit. (continua a leggere in italiano)

MOSE. Gianni Letta, Ghediniand Brunetta sue newspapers
They declare to be alien to the bribes, and dispute the statements released to the prosecutor by some entrepreneurs and reported by the press. Under fire Il Fatto, LaRepubblica, Gazzettino.
The senator of Forza Italian NiccoloGhedini, the chairman of the Party Group at the Chamber of Deputies Renato Brunetta and Gianni Letta, former undersecretary to the Prime Minister in the Berlusconi government, announced complaints against the newspapers that have spread news about their alleged involvement in the prosecution for bribes paid by companies engaged in executing the MOSEsystem of dams around Venice.(continua a leggere in italiano)

Biella. Indiscreet reporter searched in court
Blocked by an agent who was looking for a recorder. Elena Giacchero revealed a mozzarella business within the Palace of Justice and the dysfunction of office work.
As she was leaving the Palace of Justice in Biella, the journalist Elena Giacchero, court reporter for the online newspaper Newsbiella.it, was blocked by an agent that brought her into small glass-paned room and searched her to see if she had a tape recorder hidden in her purse or in the pockets of her jacket. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Injuctions. CesarePrandelli and the novel inspired by him
The FIGC and the coach of the Italian National Football teamdemanded not to publish the book “Per favore non diteniente” by Marco Ciriello. But the publisher considers the request unjustified.
Per favorenon ditenienteis a novel that has just come out. It has been written by the journalist Marco Ciriello. An over cover states that the book was inspired by CesarePrandelli, the popular coach of the national football team. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Calabria. Protests againstScopellitifor insults to reporters
Carlo Parisi (FNSI): “slanderous accusations”. Still involvedthe Corrieredella Calabria, its editor Paolo Pollichieni and the reporters.
The Secretary of the Unionof Journalistsof Calabria, Mr Carlo Parisi, defined “slanderous accusations” the recriminations against the local press uttered by the former President of the Regional Council of Calabria Mr Giuseppe Scopelliti on May 30th, during a press conference. (continua a leggere in italiano)

Reparation damages for defamation. Confirmed Saviano conviction
Mondadori will have to pay €30’000 to EnzoBoccolato, as he is linked to the Camorrain the book “Gomorrah”. The Court of Appeal: “there is no evidence”.
For a phrase in Gomorrahthe writer Roberto Saviano and the Mondadori publishing house will have to compensate with €30’000 Mr EnzoBoccolato, a man who has a clean record and who, in the book, is instead linked to the Camorra. And for that he consideredhimself vilified and has made a claim for damages.(continua a leggere in italiano)

RR/ASP

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