After 2years, a reporter learns that she was subjected to a tracking device

The freelance journalist Rosaria Federico, suspected of revealing a state secret, had her mobile phone confiscated and a device that tracked her movements was secretly installed on her car.

The freelance journalist Rosaria Federico only discovered two years afterwards that in 2016 she had been subjected to telephone wire taps by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Salerno and was followed by an electronic satellite device that tracked the movements of her car. The investigations were carried out as part of a judicial investigation against unknown persons for revealing news considered as state secrets. With these actions against the reporter, the prosecutor tried to trace the source of news published by Federico on the 29th June 2016, in La Città di Salerno, in which she referred to the investigation into the murder of Angelo Vassallo, the mayor of Pollica (Salerno), killed in 2010. Rosaria Federico only learned of these actions on the 14th November 2018, through reading the text of the ruling by which the Superior Council of Magistracy, on the 20th September 2018, set aside a disciplinary proceeding against the magistrate handling those investigations. The magistrate’s behaviour had been questioned following a presentation by the journalist, who had challenged the methods that the prosecuting magistrate and police officers employed against her on the 23rd September 23 2016, when they ordered the seizure of her mobile phone. The Italian National Press Federation (Fnsi) and Sugc ( the journalists union of Campania) have defined the way in which the prosecutor treated the reporter as “unacceptable” and added that this episode confirms that “a law is necessary to protect professional secrecy”. “But is this justice?” asked Rosaria Federico, commenting on the facts with Ossigeno, “Reading that provision took me back two years; knowing that you are in a country where at any moment you can be X-rayed whilst not being a criminal or even a suspect, is emotionally complicated. I also ask myself: how much money did the State spend to conduct this investigation?” In her statement to the Superior Council ofthe Magistracy Rosaria Federico, assisted by the lawyer Antonio Di Sarno, denounced having suffered “incomprehensible curtailment of personal freedom and relationships” and having “lived through the whole affair with great worry and fear”. The Superior Council of the Magistracy ruled that the prosecuting magistrate did not be have incorrectly towards the journalist. It ruled that “There was no intimidating behaviour”, nor were “threatening or exaggerated phrases” pronounced. In addition, the Council wrote that the prosecuting magistrate “had avoided that the seizure of the phone happened in a disproportionate way”.

RDM (wt)

Read the comment of the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro

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