Ossigeno and Federica Angeli: the Italian solution

Press Agency ANSA publishes a news article about the conference held on 6 November at the Italian Cultural Institute in Brussels about threatened journalists in Belgium, France and Italy

BRUSSELS – The threats journalists suffer have different faces and names but the danger is the same for journalists across Europe, and it has to do with their lives. The numbers speak for themselves: over the last 10 years, 1,010 journalists around the world have been killed, 80 alone in the last 12 months. How can they be protected? By replicating the model of protection of Italy, adopted as an example by UNESCO, linked with methodical monitoring. These are the recommendations from the NGO Oxygen for Information, which brought together, at the Italian Institute of Culture in Brussels, journalists from Italy, France and Belgium who were victims of intimidation.

“This problem is real, extensive and substantially unchallenged”, explained the director of Ossigeno, Alberto Spampinato. The recent assassinations of Daphne Caruana Galicia in Malta and Jan Kuciak in Slovakia prove this. “Those deaths could and should have been avoided – continued Spampinato – if they had been in Italy they would most likely have been saved”. Like Federica Angeli, journalist of La Repubblica, who has been under guard since 2013, threatened by a mafia clan in Ostia, but who can now tell her story. “At the beginning, I was left completely alone, not even my newspaper had taken my situation seriously and for two years it never talked about it,” she says. Federica never stopped supporting “the search for truth” and, despite everything, she remained in Ostia with her children. It was Oxygen which shone a  spotlight on her situation. And the NGO has documented  3,722 accounts  of threats in the last ten years in Italy.

The pressure on journalists today is increasing again throughout Europe. There are other cases such as that  of  Philippe Pujol from Marseilles and the Belgian David Leloup. Europe needs careful monitoring, but also new legislation, explains Fabrice Rizzoli, an expert on mafias and a professor at Sciences-Po in Paris. “In Italy there is a different awareness, just think of the seriousness with which the police deals with the threats – he explains – In France all this is not there and, until there is the crime of mafia association, there will  “officially” be no mafia in France “.

ANSA

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