A free peer-to-peer support to reporters intimidated, from Ossigeno with the MAP project

Provides free advice and assistance from journalists who know the problems, who have lived the same or similar experiences – How it works

OSSIGENO 23 April 2022 – The free peer-to-peer support to individual reporters in difficulty due to their work, the publication of uncomfortable, unwelcome news, which will generate disordered and oversized reactions is one of the lesser known but most appreciated activities among the many that Ossigeno per l’Informazione has been carried out since 2011. It began as soon as the Observatory began to systematically collect information on intimidation and threats to Italian reporters with its active monitoring carried out with a methodology that provides for an accurate control of the facts. This support activity was born with the need to concretely give a hand to those who in the world of the media have to face situations of particular difficulty alone and need the opinions and advice of competent people to orient themselves, opinions that are not always within reach. hand, especially for freelancers and for those who work for local newspapers.

This individual support activity is closely integrated with the best known one that Ossigeno carries out: the publication of original news, analyzes and statistics which serve, above all, to break the isolation and media silence that weakens reporters who are victims of intimidation. Publishing detailed news about the journalists attacked to hinder their work and spreading them in their language and in the environment in which they live means to be at their side, to make a concrete gesture of solidarity. It also serves to show the skeptics, the incredulous, and all those who continue to postpone the necessary countermeasures, that these attacks are systematic and that the phenomenon is more serious and widespread than one might think by reading the newspapers and consulting the official statistics published by the Government and other observation centers reporting far fewer incidents. Furthermore, for the same purpose, Ossigeno carries out a training activity for journalists and schools, cultivates the memory of the journalists killed and provides Free Legal Assistance to journalists accused on pretext or intending to assert their rights in trials in which they appear as aggrieved party. This last service is reserved for reporters who do not have legal assistance from the publisher and have few personal resources.

THE MAP PROJECT –  This year Ossigeno has expanded this activity with the MAP Monitoring Assistance Protection Project, created in partnership with UNESCO’s Global Media Defence Fund (GMDF). The MAP Project began in February 2022 and will end in January 2023.

The Project envisages that at least 100 peer-to-peer support actions will be provided by Ossigeno. These actions include: demonstrations  of public solidarity necessary to break the isolation that is often created around those who suffer intimidation; advice on how to deal with specific situations; reporting to the authorities; legal opinions; suggestions on how to deal with legal or other proceedings or requests for the cancellation of the right to be forgotten; suggestions for obtaining the assistance of the publisher or for accessing the services of the Free Legal Aid Office of Ossigeno; intervening with the relevant authorities to report specific issues and problems , opinions and comments on the legislative activity in the field of freedom of information;  preparation of proposals, etc.

Ossigeno will make these support actions known whilst respecting the confidentiality of the interested parties and with their consent, in the belief that knowing how these support actions evolve is also useful for those who suffer or could suffer similar intimidation and, above all, to make people understand with these examples that the victims of these intimidations are completely innocent and deserve assistance. Unfortunately – it is not enough to say that there are journalists under threat and to enumerate them it is also necessary to help them overcome the difficulties they face.

The MAP Project, moreover, will also pay special attention to the intimidation of female journalists which often has a sexist component and in many cases reveals a gender bias even within the journalism profession. This aspect of the question, with particular attention to language, will be explored in a study co-ordinated by the journalist Marilù Mastrogiovanni in collaboration with the Master’s Program in Journalism of the University of Bari. The results will be presented in November in Bari at the Forum of Female Journalists of the Mediterranean. ASP



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