The lengthy disappearance of Matteo Messina Denaro. Why do crime bosses attack journalists who talk about them? The contribution of Lirio Abbate during the Ossigeno review at the Casa del Jazz.
OSSIGENO June 16th 2023 – Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro was able to remain a fugitive for thirty years thanks also to the silence that the mafia impose on journalists and on their publications. While Messina Denaro was on the run, “he was wrapped up in protective cotton wool by people from the middle classes; doctors who falsified health records and an amenable doctor protected by the Freemasonry to which he belonged”.
The journalist Lirio Abbate, on the stage of the Casa del Jazz, on the 9th June 2023, as the first guest of “Stories of everyday censorship”, a review of music and talks promoted by Ossigeno in collaboration with the Fondazione Musica per Roma (Music Foundation for Rome read here) insisted that the former high profile fugitive evaded justice for thirty years until his arrest last March in a private clinic in Palermo, only because his own body betrayed him. Here are some excerpts from Abbate’s speech.
“Tonight we are here in a park confiscated from the mafia and returned to the community. Here where gangland boss Enrico Nicoletti once lived, today, we are sitting comfortably listening to good music, in a setting that welcomes children and families”.
Messina Denaro was “betrayed by his body, with the arrival of an unforeseen illness”, he added. “He had managed in silence to get rich, to pollute the legal economy with his illegal businesses, and to infiltrate our country’s democracy with his corrupt and conniving political candidates”.
“Some time ago some mafiosi told me: “it is not prison that scares us, nor the notification of being investigated, but the news coverage of us”. The mafiosi fear the reporter who manages to show their incompatibility, to dismantle their aura of power, sometimes even through resorting to irony, as the Sicilian journalist Peppino Impastato did”.
“It is for this reason, Abate stressed, that the mafiosi, powerful individuals and others who take their side target reporters who reveal unpalatable truths, as evidenced by the thousands of incidents of threats to journalists documented by the Observatory of Ossigeno per l’informazione which performs an extraordinary and very important role”.
In Italy, many reporters are intimidated because of their work. “They include journalists from major newspapers as well as reporters from small towns who report what the local mafia boss is doing or why the mayor isn’t doing his job well as a public administrator. They report on the basis of investigative work, with documents and data in hand and they put their faces and their signatures to their articles. In addition to intimidation, they often also have to defend themselves against the accusation of not minding their own business. We must admire and support the courage and determination of these colleagues of mine”. GPA