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Press freedom. Ossigeno: the international classifications are misleading

Alberto Spampinato, editor-in-chief of the Italian observatory, Ossigeno per l’Informazione asserted during the international conference at the Complutense University in Madrid on the theme “Italy and Spain: Liberty and Censorship: the great silence” that the published classifications each year on press freedom which are topped by several European countries and which place Italy seventieth in a list of 180 countries are misleading, without sense or credibility since they pretend to compare the state of health of a place such as Italy subject to a thousand diagnostic tests with the health of another country which simply declares that its situation is good though not subjected to the same analyses. Before making these comparisons, he said, strong corrective parameters need to be applied.

“What purpose is served by designating as the black sheep Italy which is setting a good example by allowing itself to be examined and  showing its wounds and on the other hand not commenting upon the “modesty” with which other countries conceal their ills?” In every country of Europe, each year, thousands of journalists and bloggers, he added, are subject to intimidations, threats, retaliation and abuses because of their work. It is a dramatic problem for the safety of the persons affected and for the public since limiting press freedom limits the public’s right to be informed. It is a major problem but nobody talks about it, nobody represents it, nobody asks for it to be dealt with for what it is.

 Spampinato concluded by saying, “If in the midst of this great silence, Italy is an exception it is because an independent observatory, “Ossigeno per l’Informazione” has for ten years, actively, publicly and uninterruptedly identified the most serious episodes of threats and abuses of this type, indicating the causes and the significant details. This observatory has listed the names of 3158 victims. It is only the tip of the iceberg of what is happening in Italy. In other European countries it appears that nothing similar happens but it is also true that none of these countries has monitoring similar to the Italian one. Also in Italy it seemed that nothing happened before Ossigeno began to examine the situation with its radar. Probably the situations also in other countries would appear different if they were observed with the incisive and penetrating radar of Ossigeno”.

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