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Ostia (Rome). RAI’s reporter and videomaker beaten

The video of the attack has had an enormous impact. The minister of the Interior will discuss the protection of journalists with the FNSI

The diffusion a day after the event of the video which showed the brutal attack on the journalist Daniele Piervincenzi and his cameraman Edoardo Anselmi in which they were struck with a baton, kicks and punches whilst they were working in Ostia for Nemo the weekly news programme of the second channel of the RAI public television network has had an enormous influence on public  opinion.

On the 7th November 2017, the journalist was head-butted and had his nose broken. The attacker – Roberto Spada – continued hitting him with a baton and running after him. Then, realising that the cameraman was recording the scene, he caught up with him and assaulted him with punches and kicks though without succeeding in erasing the recorded images.

After the video of the attack went viral, Spada defended himself on Facebook, writing on his profile, “Excuse me. Patience has a limit”. The following day he was arrested by the Carabinieri with the charge of grievous bodily harm exacerbated  by having acted in a mafia context.

The journalist has reported that numerous individuals were present without intervening in the scene unfolding in the street, in front of the gym which Spada runs  (in the interview with Fabrizia Caputo of the Fatto Quotidiano (“He beat us up and the people around didn’t help us” – “See what happens if you come here?”, 9 November 2017, page 3).

Spada is the brother of the head of a criminal clan of the same name which in Ostia runs an extortion operation along mafia lines. A few days before the elections on  Sunday 5th November he expressed on Facebook his preference for the candidate list of the extreme right Casapound party which has had success in several neighbourhoods – a fact which has raised suspicions of a link between the extreme right and the local organised crime.

Piervincenzi had gone, therefore, to ask Spada to comment upon the local government elections. The journalist had asked, “Do you expect something to change in New Ostia?” Spada had replied, “It doesn’t interest me, they are your problems”. He then resorted to violence (video here).

The journalist has formally accused the attacker. Piervincenzi stated to the ANSA agency which interviewed him (read): “A broken nose will not stop us. Certainly we are a little shaken, both me and Edoardo Anselmi who courageously defended his recording. One has to recognise the courage of Edoardo”.

The incident came to light on the 8th November. RAI has expressed solidarity with Piervincenzi and Anselmi and has guaranteed, “full assistance to the two journalists also regarding legal matters”.

Bipartisan support to Piervincenzi and Anselmi has been expressed by the political parties, among whom the president of the Council, Paolo Gentiloni; the president of the Senate Pietro Grasso; the president of the Camera Laura Boldrini; the mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi and by representatives of the professional associations (Odg, FNSI and others).

Ossigeno per l’Informazione has asked, “What else must happen before the government adopts measures?”, noting that for some time it, together with the Roman Press Association, has raised the alarm over what is happening in Rome where 30% of the attacks on journalists in Italy occur. Ossigeno has also asked newspapers to contextualise these episodes, noting that with the two journalists attacked in Ostia on the 7th November, the number of journalists, reporters and bloggers attacked in Rome in 2017 has risen to 104.

The minister of the Interior, Marco Minniti will discuss in the coming days the issue of the protection of journalists with the leaders of FNSI at their headquarters.


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