How Ossigeno works

The Observatory was established in 2008 to monitor the condition of Italian journalists targeted with physical threats and other types of intimidation, including legal harassment. This monitoring activity helped to uncover a lot of gaps in the Italian legislation that protects journalists from violence and censorship, and as a consequence, protects the freedom of the press.

The Observatory’s activities are conducted in the Italian language. But because the diseases affecting the freedom of the press are contagious, we believe that this work can be of international interest. For this reason, from time to time we select articles to be translated into other languages. The work is all voluntary, and we try to expand the reach of our small organisation by regularly publishing an increasing number of articles about the episodes that come to our attention.

The information is collected from different sources, principally wire service reports, news articles, press releases from the Union of Journalists and the non-profit organisations dedicated to freedom of the press, and our correspondents, who are professional journalists contributing on voluntary basis. Our role is to evaluate and categorise each case, and make it news, after it has been properly checked, directly or through our trusted contacts in the field.

Moreover, Ossigeno brings to the awareness of the authorities episodes and cases which require special attention.

The work of the Observatory has been appreciated by, among others, the President of the Republic and the President of the Senate, who encouraged Ossigeno to continue in its mission. In 2012 Ossigeno’s data and reports were acquired by the Antimafia Commission of the Italian Parliament in its investigation of the phenomenon of threatened journalists.


“It is a moral commitment. And for me it is also connected to the memory of my brother Giovanni, a journalist killed in Sicily in 1972. I told his story in two books. Starting from that, I launched the project ‘Ossigeno per l’informazione'”, states Alberto Spampinato, director of the Observatory, and since 2007 a councillor of the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (FNSI), is the Italian journalists’ union, one of the sponsors of Ossigeno per l’Informazione together with the Ordine Nazionale dei Giornalisti, the Italian order of journalists.

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