Journalists Federico Ruffo regards it as intimidation for having documented that in some private car parks customers’ cars are moved onto the street
OSSIGENO December 12, 2022 – Shortly before midnight on the 20th October 2022, in Rome, the journalist Federico Ruffo, who hosts the program ‘Mi Manda Rai Tre’, after an editing shift at the production centre used by the state broadcaster Rai, in the Rome neighborhood of Prati, went to pick up his car which was parked on the street. He found it with a tyre slashed by electrician’s pliers still stuck in the tyre.
For the journalist it was clearly intimidation due to his journalism and probably to the television report on the abuses of some paid parking garages he made for the programme he hosts (read here).
That same morning, together with a team, he had documented using specially positioned cameras that some parking garage managers, in order to gain space and more customers, sometimes moved the cars they already had in custody onto the street, incurring no-parking fines borne by the unsuspecting owner.
The journalist formally reported the damage by persons unknown to the Rome Police Headquarters, two days after he discovered the damage. An investigation into the incident is underway.
THE JOURNALIST – “In my complaint – Federico Ruffo declared to Ossigeno -, I pointed out that that morning, together with a colleague and the videographer, we had visited a commercial parking garage in the Prati neighbourhood and we had documented with video cameras that some of the cars, once the customer had left, were moved to the street. The parking attendants spoke to us aggressively. This had never happened to us with other valets we had caught in the act. When I went to pick up my car, which was parked nearby, I noticed one of the valets standing on the street. He had followed me, and yelled: “Do you understand that you don’t have to put me in the broadcast?” I assured him that we would obscure the faces, but with his mobile phone he dictated my car number plate to his interlocutor. At first I thought of a bluff, then, checking with my colleagues, I connected the fact that the editing centre where we went to work shortly after is not very far from that parking garage. Maybe they followed me and, knowing the number plate and model, identified my car”.
Federico Ruffo has suffered other intimidation because of his work. In November 2018, following some investigations for ‘Report’ on Rai3 (see Ossigeno), unknown persons attempted to set fire to his house, after drawing a cross on the wall.
SOLIDARITY – Ossigeno per l’informazione expresses solidarity with Federico Ruffo and all the journalists and media workers who are at the frontline of news gathering and are therefore much more exposed to the risk of aggression and retaliation than their colleagues who work in the editorial offices, or elsewhere, on the basis of information collected by telephone or telematics. These reporters deserve enhanced assistance and the full solidarity of their colleagues. The episode demonstrates once again that journalism that shows what actually happens is poorly tolerated and deserves greater protection. LT