Bisceglieviva: An editor blanks out a blog and replaces the editorial staff

On grounds that the picture was “harmful to our image”. This was decided after a warning countersigned by the editor-in-chief. This is censorship activated by external pressure, the blogger says

On the March 2nd 2018 the publishing company in Puglia, “Innovanews Srl” has blacked out the blog, “Ste u maere a Veschegghie” (“There is the sea at Bisceglie”) which the journalist Mario Lamanuzzi edited on www.bisceglieviva.it, an online publication registered at the Tribunal of Trani. The blacking-out has been motivated by a presumed, “serious damage to the commercial and professional image”. Simultaneously the publisher has blocked access to the editorial system of the publication and to its social media pages for the entire editorial staff who worked on behalf of the association “Gb Ferrara” from Bisceglie (BT) with whom the publishing company formally terminated collaboration. On March 3rd by secure e-mail the publisher informed the editorial staff of the end of the collaboration due to “serious and repeated negligence in the running of the site” and to the absence of formalising a contractual relationship between the publishing company and the editorial team.

The journalist Lamanuzzi told Ossigeno, “The affair reveals the attempt at censorship of information on the part of the publisher who seems to have subjected himself to external conditioning on the part of whoever does not accept a free and independent journalism”.

Lamanuzzi with his articles commented and examined in depth topics regarding the principal administrative and political questions of the city of Bisceglie such as, for example, the management of public health services and burial services, private and social housing and urban development. Lamanuzzi also covered stories of loan sharks and local crime. The contents of the blogs have been saved by the author and are accessible through this link.

The publications of BisceglieViva have never been interrupted and are now edited by other journalists of the network. On March 4th the portal published a note in which it announced the end of the collaboration with the association GB Ferrara “in the face of disagreement over essential editorial lines” and a renewal of the editorial team (read here).

In January 2108 GB Ferrara received from the company’s legal representative Cesare Mongelli the request to cease the publication of the blog of Lamanuzzi. The warning was countersigned also by Antonio Quinto the chief editor responsible for all the titles of the Viva network of which BisceglieViva was a part. With this letter, besides not publishing further posts of the blog, GB Ferrara was asked “to black out the entire (….) blog which because of its contents could cause serious damage to the commercial and professional image both to the Bisceglie Viva portal and to the entire network of citizens portals”. Moreover the letter requested GB Ferrara to prevent the journalist Lamanuzzi “from publishing whatever article signed by him” in other parts of the publication. The chief director Antonio Quinto stated to Ossigeno, “Analysing the contents of the articles of Lamanuzzi I was able to discern that they were biased. The warning countersigned also by me, was not a general ban. We asked him to no longer write in that partisan way. In addition our publication is not a major one, it cannot allow itself to be sued and precisely for an article by Lamanuzzi in the past we have been sued.” The director took it upon himself to explain better his position and to provide further details for an assessment.

RDM (wt)

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