Impunity. Good news and unkept commitments

An assessment and some reflections following the Ossigeno Conference on 22 October for the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists

In Italy the impunity rate for threats and intimidation against journalists has fallen significantly, by eight per cent, in the last twelve months. It is a result of the greater determination and the more continuous commitment of the police and the judiciary. This is the good news that Ossigeno per l’Informazione gave with abundant detail and analyses, on Monday 22nd October at the Conference, hosted in the Senate (read here).

We emphasize that this is important news. However, it seemed right to point out that even with this significant improvement the rate of impunity still stands at 90.1 percent, which indicates a very high, almost absolute, impunity. Therefore, the situation remains highly worrying because impunity encourages the violent and the overbearing to commit other threats, intimidation and retaliation. The drop in impunity is one of those pieces of good news that can also be interpreted in a negative sense, without fear of being contradicted or accused of exaggerating. Unfortunately this is the situation and it is the consequence of years of apathy, or rather of commitments made but not followed up with action, by the adoption of measures concrete. At the Conference, we recalled the commitments made by parliamentarians and at our other similar conferences in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and we have demonstrated that none of those commitments has been honoured. Commitments were also made this year. What will come of them? We’ll see. We are optimistic because we have a duty to be optimistic and we are convinced that good luck must be helped. Furthermore, we have some support. The first is the commitment of the government representatives who participated in our Conference, to face up to and resolve the double knot of irresponsible lawsuits and the limitations upon the professional secrecy of journalists. It is the first time that a government has opened up a front on this and it seems to us a good sign.

ASP

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