Between January and June 2020, the Italian Ministry of the Interior identified intimidation of 83 reporters, almost half through social media – New initiatives announced by the regional offices of the Ministry
The “Coordination Centre for monitoring, analysis and continuous exchange of information on the phenomenon of intimidating acts against journalists” of the Ministry of the Interior, recorded, in Italy, from 1st January to 16th June 2020, 83 intimidating acts against of journalists, an average 15 cases per month. The monthly trend has more than doubled compared to the two-year period 2018-2019. In fact, the Interior Ministry recorded 73 cases in the twelve months of 2018 (on average 6 per month) and 87 in the twelve months of 2019 (on average 7 per month).
These data were released on January 25th 2020 by the Italian Interior Ministry with a press release (read here the official report) and were commented upon by the Interior Minister, Luciana Lamorgese on the same day.
In particular, the threats on social media detected by the Interior Ministry increased: in 2018 and 2019 they were a quarter of the total (24% in 2018 and 23.5% in 2019), while in 2020 so far they have reached 43%.
According to the information disclosed, the intimidations are attributable to contexts and motivations of different nature, categorised into macro reference areas: acts from organized crime (10 incidents in 2020), acts attributable to socio-political motives (37 incidents so far in 2020) and acts from other contexts (36 episodes in 2020). Out of 83 incidents recorded since the beginning of the year, 70 (i.e., 82%) occurred in only 5 regions: Lazio, Campania, Sicily, Calabria and Lombardy.
Based on these data, the Italian Interior Ministry has decided to strengthen its operations with the creation of panels with local representatives of the professional associations of journalists, to define the most suitable interventions at local level, to start joint training initiatives, to strengthen the exchange of information and to pay specific attention to intimidating acts disseminated on social networks.
The Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said that intimidation and threats are already the subject of constant attention, also in order to promptly adopt measures to protect threatened journalists. She referred to the directive sent to the local Interior Ministry officials on January 24th 2020, with which a “semi-annual structured monitoring to identify and analyse the risk factors and scenarios at a local level, as well as the initiatives taken and the measures adopted at that level” was launched.
In order to stem threats and intimidation, the Ministry of the Interior intends to involve the its local offices more actively, so as to activate within a short period of time “analytical panels of the phenomenon in which the professional association and trade associations will participate”, because, the Minister added, “freedom of the press represents a founding defence of our democracy, which must be preserved and defended across the country”.
Lamorgese thanked the local officials, the police forces and representatives of the media for their efforts, “which enabled greater collaboration to improve the activity both in terms of prevention and suppression of the phenomena”.
The Deputy Minister for the Interior Matteo Mauri, the head of the Cabinet of the Interior Ministry Matteo Piantedosi, the head of the Police Franco Gabrielli, the deputy head of the Police and director of Criminalpol Vittorio Rizzi, the vice president and secretary of the National Order of Journalists Elisabetta Cosci and Guido D’Ubaldo, and the president of the FNSI (the National Federation of the Italian Press) Giuseppe Giulietti. participated in the videoconference of the Coordination Centre on 25th June 2020. (Source ANSA)