Important / O2 in English

News leak and the Consip case. The end does not justify the means

The comment after the searches and seizures of journalists’ computers and cell phones

The search of the reporter of Il Fatto Quotidiano Marco Lillo (read), a few days after the seizure of the phone of Federica Sciarelli, made in order to find out the source that revealed some important details of the CONSIP judicial inquiry file, confirms that journalists in Italy have few and weak prerogatives in defence of the right to seek, receive and disseminate information of public interest and to protect their fiduciary sources. It demonstrates that the few rules in their favour are easily circumvented by Machiavellian and sly initiatives that bend the principles that Italy should stick to.

Part of the bending, though, is not devoid of inventiveness which can catch a distracted controller off guard. But other pressures, like those of these days, can not fool anyone. They are well-known, as they have been repeated for decades, and are only justified by the purpose they are intended for, and as such have been fuelling for the same protests and the same reminders to the rules for decades.

These are pressures that are unjustifiable, that the Court of Human Rights of Strasbourg does not hesitate to condemn and censure whenever it is called upon to judge them. Unfortunately, this can only take place after a long time: after about ten years, that is, when the pressures and abuses have had the chance to deploy the full weight of their instrumental, intimidating and censorial effect on journalists who have done their job well and on readers who, by virtue of such initiatives, no longer receive the news they had the right to have.

It is sad to repeat always the same story for the sake of a Parliament which, although in the meantime has been renewed several times, has neither the urge nor the courage to update our medieval standards, and that is because of inquirers that cling to said norms rather than apply the more modern and liberal European jurisprudence that, in law, is immediately applicable, all it needs is the will to do so.

It is sad to see this immutable immobility and compare it with the dynamism of other countries that face problems head on as these occur. In Germany, for example, in 2010 in the face of a similar case, in defence of journalists the entire government was mobilized and within a year Parliament changed the criminal code by rewriting Article 335b to expressly establish that in the case of the violation of the secret of confidential acts of a judicial or other nature (in that case they were secret service records), the journalist who makes the content known cannot persecuted, but rather the public official who allowed the news leak, failing to uphold the secrecy to which laws, regulations and deontological duties hold him (read how the case rolled out). In Italy, the end justifies the means and resignation is what there’s left.


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