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What is going on in Italy – Safety Net Ossigeno – 13th -19th October 2014

The 33rd of 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 13th -19th October 2014
What happened in Italy: threatened journalists and obscured news 

Ossigeno per L’Informazione wants to bring its method of monitoring threats and intimidation against journalists and media workers – a method that in Italy has made visible more than 2 thousand incidents of censorship in disguise – outside Italy: this possibility was discussed with interest in the South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) which was held from October 16 to 18 in Skopje, capital of the Republic of Macedonia.

The debated was attended, amongst others, by Oliver Vujovic, Secretary General of SEEMO (South East European Media Organization, which met in conference in Skopje); Scott Griffen, advisor of the International Press Institute in Vienna; Mehmet Koksal, head of Projects for the Federation of European Journalists in Brussels; Joanna Levison, Director of Communications and external Relations of Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberté (Prague); Melody Patry, responsible for advocacy of Index on Censorship (London). On October 16 in Metz, France, during the eighth edition of the “AssisesInternationales du Journalismeet de l’Information”, an issue of discussion was on how to protect journalists and, at the time, provide a free information without censorship. Ossigeno per L’Informazione exhibited on the occasion its views on the measures to be taken across Europe, even in Western countries such as Italy and France, to help reporters face abuse, threats and intimidation.

AGGRESSION – Incidents against journalists in Italy didn’t fail to occur even during the past week. NelloTrocchia, reporter for the television show La Gabbia (aired on La7), was attacked in Naples during the anti-ECB demonstration held on October, 3rd. The journalist was attacked by a group of protesters who kicked him and pushed him and ultimately stole the microphone from him. Maria Celeste Gubitosa, journalist fore the newspaper Il Roma, on 29 September last was warned not to take pictures during the session of the council by a councillor of the majority of the city of Pompeii (Naples).

PENDING TRIAL – On February 3, the Court of Trapani will judge the journalist RinoGiacalone accused of the crime of libel for having offended the reputation of the Mafia boss Mariano Agate. This was decided by the prosecutor Franco Belvisi, taking the direct quotation of the journalist.

DEFAMATION – Ever louder are the critical voices on the text of the draft law on defamation in the Senate, which has the most qualifying point in the elimination of imprisonment for convicted journalists, but which does not solve many other problems in a balanced way and does not accommodate the requests by European institutions to adapt the rules of the Italian case law to the norms set out by the European Court of Human Rights. In this regard, the lawyer Valerio Vartolo expresses concerns on the issue and outlines the costs that a journalist would face in the event of an unfair lawsuit. A parliamentary inquiry into the death of the journalist from Radio Radicale Mr Antonio Russo, who was killed in Georgia on October 16, 2000, was submitted on 15 October to the Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini by the MP Gianni Melilla.

Threatened journalists. The Ossigeno method will be applied abroad
The system for monitoring intimidation experienced in Italy has been discussed in Skopje by international experts
Skopje, October 17 – On top of blatant and obvious threats, journalists who write unwelcome news may be threatened by powerful and vindictive people through subtle intimidation, not visible from a normal view point, but that may prevent the flow of important information to the public. (continue reading)

Skopje. Masked censorship and the Ossigeno method
“Masked censorship in free countries: why is it spreading?”. A debate on this issue will take place on Friday, October 17th, 2014 at 18:30 in Skopje, Macedonia
The debate takes place within the South East European Media Forum and within the Safety Net For European Journalists Project, supported by the European Commission and coordinated by the Centre Balkans-Caucasus. (continue reading)

Threatened journalists. The issue under discussion in Skopje with Ossigeno and OBC
As part of the Congress of South East Europe Media Forum. Friday 17 the debate on the application of the Ossigeno method in other countries
As part of the South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) held from October 16 to 18 in Skopje, Macedonia, the Centre Balkans-Caucasus and its partners – South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), Ossigeno per L’Informazione (O2) and Professor Eugenia Siapera (Dublin City University) – will present some results from the research and from the activities carried out within the European project “Safety Net for European Journalists.” (continue reading)

Conference in Metz. Protecting journalists is a European problem
At the “AssisesInternationales de l’Informationet du Journalisme” there was also Ossigeno. Solutions to ensure the freedom of information and protect journalists.
How to protect journalists who face intimidation and threats, and at the same time provide a free information, without censorship: this was the theme discussed on October 16 in Metz, during the eighth edition of the “AssisesInternationales de l’Informationet du Journalisme”. (continue reading)

Naples. Journalist attacked during anti-ECB demonstration
Some protesters kicked him and pushed him around, grabbing the mic from him and throwing it away.
He files a complaint, but says: “episode does not affect peaceful march” “You did enough”. “You’ve got to go”. Kicks, shoves, a microphone grabbed. NelloTrocchia, reporter for the television show La Gabbia, broadcast on La7, was following the anti-ECB demonstration held in Naples on October, 3rd, when he was attacked by a group of protesters who kicked him and pushed him and, ultimately, took the microphone from him. (continue reading)

Pompeii. Town councillor to reporter: “delete the photos”
Shouts and threats during city council meeting against the correspondent for Il Roma. The mayor denies: “polite tones were used”. The journalist: “its all false”
“Put down the phone now.” Screaming this sentence, a majority councillor of the city of Pompeii (in the province of Naples) warned Maria Celeste Gubitosa, a journalist for the daily Il Roma, not to take pictures during the session of the council. (continue reading)

Mazara. “Mafioso piece of sh**” Giacalone to trial for defamation
The widow has sued the journalist for having harmed the reputation of the deceased mob boss. Letter of solidarity from forty families of Mafia victims
On February 3, the Court of Trapani will judge the journalist RinoGiacalone accused of the crime of libel for having offended the reputation of the Mafia boss Mariano Agate. This was decided by the prosecutor Franco Belvisi, taking the direct quotation of the journalist. (continue reading)

Defamation bill in the Senate: new constraints on press freedom in sight
The comment by the lawyer Valerio Vartolo on the bill that the Senate is preparing to debate
The so-called “reform” of the rules on defamation under scrutiny at the Senate gives the impression that once again the lawmaker has not grasped the true alarm that needs to be listened to for the defence of the freedom of information: the need to curb and discourage reckless lawsuits (in civil trials), and complaints as well. (continue reading)

Defamation bill in the Senate: a chorus of “no” against the text under discussion
According to the senator Casson there are too many shortcomings. According to Messrs Giulietti and Vita the text in the Senate has deteriorated and must be filed. The lawyer Malavenda lists points that are unacceptable
The critical voices against the text of the draft law on defamation under discussion in the Senate are rising, for the most qualifying point of the bill is the elimination of imprisonment for convicted journalists, but it does not solve in a balanced way many other problems, and does not accommodate the requests by European institutions to adapt to the Italian case law to the norms of the European Court of Human Rights. (continue reading)

Defamation. How much does it cost to dismiss an unjust lawsuit
The responses of the lawyer Valerio Vartolo to journalists’ questions during the professional training course held by Ossigeno
How much does it cost, in the best of cases, for a reporter the defence against libel? (continue reading)

Antonio Russo murder. Inquiry on the death of the journalist
The congressman Gianni Melilla called for “establishing the truth” on the murder of the Radio Radicale correspondent on 16 October 2000 in Georgia
A parliamentary inquiry on the death of the journalist from Radio Radicale Antonio Russo, who was killed in Georgia on October 16, 2000, was submitted on 15 October to the Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini by the MP Gianni Melilla. (continue reading)

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