Italy. Threatened journalists in 2022. Ossigeno’s and Government’s data

The comparison shows an increase in the number of threats, a significant growth in abusive court proceedings and a decrease in formal complaints to the authorities compared to the previous year

OSSIGENO 27th December 2022 – On the 6th December 2022, the Coordination Centre of the Italian Ministry of the Interior on the phenomenon of intimidation against journalists released its data on those threatened in the first nine months of 2022 (see the complete report here). According to the Centre: “There were 84 intimidating episodes committed in Italy in the first nine months of 2022 against journalists, compared to 162 recorded in the same period of 2021, with a decrease of 48%”.

Data from the Ministry shows that for 88% of the cases “the victims were 74 media workers, including 21 women (28%) and 53 men (72%). 19% of the total reports relate to intimidating incidents perpetrated against unspecified journalism offices or teams. The most affected regions are “Lazio, Lombardy, Campania, Calabria and Tuscany, with 57 episodes overall, equal to 68% of the total”. Starting from the data of the Italian Ministry of the Interior, the situation appears to have improved compared to 2021.

The data from Ossigeno per l’Informazione, the non-governmental observatory on threatened journalists and news concealed by violence, refer to types of intimidation and threats that are broader than those considered by the Interior Ministry. In fact, they also include lawsuits and abusive court proceedings brought recklessly and instrumentally, and violations of the right to information codified by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
These data indicate a different trend: in the first nine months of 2022, 173 incidents of intimidation and threats were identified by Ossigeno against 564 media workers (journalists, bloggers, and videographers). 29% are women, 36% of whom received gender-based threats.

Monitoring Jan-Sept 2022 -(In brackets the value for the same period of 2021) NGO Ossigeno per l’informazione Interior MinistryMonitoring Centre

 

Number of violations 173                 84
Number of victims 564 (288) 74 (162)
Men 71% 72%
Women 29% 28%

While data from Ossigeno highlight a growth in threats compared to the same period of the previous year, the data of the Ministry Centre show an opposite trend that is analyzed and commented in this linked editorial.

TYPOLOGIES OF VIOLATIONS – The in-depth verification of 84 out of 173 incidents OF Jan-Sept 2022, conducted using the Ossigeno Method revealed the exact context of the attacks, the types of threats and the most affected geographical areas.

Type of threat 
Warnings 57%
Abusive Court Proceedings 35%
Attacks 8%

Context of Attacks
Ossigeno per l’informazioneNGO   Interior Ministry Monitoring Centre
Individuals & Associations        54%                           55%
Local authorities, public bodies, politicians 18%
Mafie, criminal underworld 16% 11%
Companies and private entrepreneurs 6% unrecorded
Media sector 3% unrecorded
Unknown 3% unrecorded

Regions most affected Jan-Sept 2022 Ossigeno per l’informazione
Lombardy 19%
Tuscany 17%
Lazio 14%
Piedmont 11%
Puglia 9%

The Ossigeno data record an increase in threats against media professionals in Italy in 2022, differently from the Italian Interior Ministry. As a more in-depth analysis highlights however, the contradiction is only apparent, and helps to examine the trend of the phenomenon in more detail, characterized by a decrease in formal complaints and an increase in lawsuits and abusive court proceedings. In this regard, read the comment by Alberto Spampinato, director of Ossigeno per l’informazione: “In 2022, more journalists threatened and fewer formal complaints to the authorities”.

(Edited by Grazia Pia Attolini and Giacomo Bertoni)

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