8th May Spampinato – Attacks on journalists are a permanent problem

The data from Agcom and Ossigeno which are complementary indicate that it is not an emergency. Our pioneering experience is the most advanced in Europe, pre-dates what the European Parliament and other institutions hope for.

Speaking after the director of Agcom Marco Del Mastro at the conference, “Transparency and Freedom of Information” held on the 8th May in the Rome town hall organised by Ossigeno and Agcom under the patronage of UNESCO and in collaboration with the Lazio order of journalists, the president of Ossigeno, Alberto Spampinato declared that, “It’s true. There is already combined evidence from the data published by Observatory on journalism published by Agcom and the data produced by the Observatory of Ossigeno per l’Informazione on threatened journalists and news suppressed by violence.”

“I hope that this collaboration can always move forward” Spampinato added, “in order to bring to life that independent public centre hoped for by the European Parliament and proposed for years by all the European institutions, of observation and monitoring of violations of press freedom and intimidations of journalists. The observatory created in 2008 by Ossigeno is the most advanced experiment in Europe of its type which up until now has not been created in any other country”.

“What Italy needs as in other countries where there is the rule of law is a continual, standardised monitoring across the whole country. Ossigeno’s monitoring currently covers only a part of the country. Our voluntary association has all the professional capabilities and the experience to fully carry out this task as indicated by the results and the appreciation by national and international institutions. But voluntary efforts are not enough to keep the whole of Italy under observation. The attacks which take place across Italy are really too many. In 2017 Ossigeno has recorded 215 episodes and listed 423 of the attacks. But it was unable to examine a further 911 episodes. In the first months of 2018 Ossigeno has checked and published a further 95 but was unable to verify a further 128”

“In Italy, every day there are unjustifiable attacks upon journalists. Therefore the problem we have to face up to is not an emergency, as some believe, but a permanent problem. Observing and

Documenting continually and promptly these attacks does not serve only to compile statistics. Active monitoring is the first and most important measure of protection. It has a comparable effect to keeping streetlights on all night in relatively quiet streets – i.e. it deters violence. Effective monitoring does even more; it enables the production of documentation necessary both to convince citizens that they themselves are damaged through attacks on journalists and to convince the political forces to take the necessary measures overcoming the hesitation which up until now has blocked any solution.

It is not enough to give generic information on this phenomenon. Specialised observers are needed, methodical data, information scrupulously checked. Ossigeno in ten years has switched on some lights, it has aided thousands of journalists. Now it wants to shine the light on all the streets in Italy.

ASP (wt)

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