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TELEX FROM LIRIO ABBATE, TO INFORM READERS IS THE DUTY OF REPORTERS

The telling of facts is hijacked by a new ruling class that tries to control the press and does not tolerate the counterweights of democracy

Journalist Lirio Abbate, Editor-in-Chief of the weekly L’Espresso, a journalist who has been threatened with death several times by the mafia because of his courageous investigations in Sicily, Calabria, and Rome, has been under police protection for ten years. At the Concert for Press Freedom on June 21, 2017 in Rome at the “Centrale Montemartini” Museum, he sent the following telegram to “Ossigeno per l’Informazione”.

To report does not mean to judge or even to determine who is guilty or innocent. It means to report the news correctly. The magistrates conduct the investigation, and they must do it well and in a timely manner, and at the end of the investigation, when the evidence is not there, it is correct for judges to declare the impossibility to proceed.

Journalists are not judges, they are independent of the judiciary, like any other power, and do not order judgments, but point out what is socially relevant and write it down. Without defamation, they tell of facts. The press tries, with more or less gentle ways, to become the citizens’ watchdog. Without being biased.

Today, many readers are no longer able to understand or control the new ruling class based not on blood but on money, which seeks to conquer the monopoly of information and also to claim the right to impunity and control of the legal action. It uses every case, be it on the media or in court, to delegitimize and weaken the necessary counterweights with which a democracy is able to function properly.

We have the duty to publish, to write. Because this is the difference between the dossier-deluge, the mud machine which holds drawers full of infamous news to be disseminated at the right time when it serves the powerful in turn, and journalism, done by those who want to inform, having scruples and respecting the code of conduct that is their duty.

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