A public service interrupted by an attack on a TV journalist

Action taken by the general prosecutor against a man who in July 2017 at Vieste attacked the journalist Nello Trocchia who was broadcasting for Nemo (RAI2)

The court of Foggia which has begun proceedings against Filippo Trotta held responsible for a serious attack on the freelance journalist Nello Trocchia and the videocamerman Riccardo Cremona has charged the attacker in addition to bodily harm, the offence of interrupting a public service applying article 340 of the penal code.

The decision of the prosecutor is innovative in the context of the offence.

Nello Trocchia commented to Ossigeno, “It is an important development. I hope that from now on magistrates will include the offence of interruption of a public service in the charges against attackers who obstruct the reporting of news of public interest in public places and who do it not only when its is the public broadcaster but for any broadcaster because all information that is in the public interest is a public service.”

Ossigeno – Alberto Spampinato, director of Ossigeno per l’Informazione commented, “All the intimidation and attacks on journalists to prevent them doing their job form part of the offence of interrupting public service insofar as informing citizens about facts which help them to participate in public life is a public service whether it is done by the state broadcaster RAI or any newspaper. Hence we hope that this additional offence will be always levelled at the perpetrators of intimidation, threats and abuse. Moreover it should be possible to add this charge to those who have obstructed free access to information. This category of offence is still missing from our penal code. It is necessary to introduce it.”

Article 340 envisages a prison sentence of up to a year for whoever causes an interruption or disturbs the routine working of a public service. The magistrate explained that the public service which was interrupted by the attack was the TV broadcast Nemo on Rai2 whose transmission was blocked by the attacker.

Filippo Trotta was the person who, on the 27th July 2017 at Vieste attacked Trocchia and Cremona whilst they were preparing a report on the mafia in Foggia for the Nemo programme of Rai2.

The journalist and the cameraman were recording outside a restaurant where Omar Trotta the brother of Filippo had just been killed. Filippo Trotta irritated by the cameras attacked Trocchia, dragged him into the street and banged his head against a wall. Both Trocchia and the cameraman were compelled to flee to avoid further consequences. Trocchia suffered facial bruising and severe grazing.

RDM (wt)

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