Emma D’’Aquino quoted the figures in her monologue on press freedom and the risks of journalists who search for true versions of events – Comment by Ossigeno.
The journalist Emma D’Aquino, host of Tg1 Rai, from the stage of the Ariston Theatre on January 5th 2020 urged the viewing audience of five million following the second evening of the 2020 Italian Song Festival to, “Check out the data of Ossigeno per l’Informazioneregarding intimidating lawsuits in Italy” (View it again here).
She spoke late at night, during a five-minute monologue, which was heavily applauded by the theatre audience.
The journalist cited the most eloquent figures that demonstrate how frequent is the use of violence and abuse to gag journalists investigating disagreeable events. Intimidation, imprisonment, murder, death threats that force journalists to live with the police escort, vexatious accusations in court are all used. The figures quoted show how dangerous it can be, even in Italy (43rd out of 180 countries in the press freedom index of Reporters Sans Frontières) for those journalists who do their job well.
Threats, intimidation, gags, said Emma D’Aquino, serve to silence, to create an information blackout and we should not allow it, “do not leave us alone because, as the great Giorgio Gaber said, freedom is participation and the right to truth applies to everyone and is for everyone”.
First of all Emma D’Aquino cited the data of Reporters Sans Frontières according to which in 2019, 49 journalists were killed due to their work of searching for the truth and documenting it. Numerous but less than the last 12 years (when on average, more than 80 were killed each year). Most of them have been killed outside of war zones, in countries at peace, with established democracies: such as Mexico, Malta and Slovakia. Then she recalled the 389 journalists imprisoned, almost half in three countries alone (China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia) and many in Russia and Turkey.
Many more are the journalists who are hindered in their work with threats, intimidation and abuse and, in this regard, she amply quoted the data of the monitoring carried out in Italy by Ossigeno per l’Informazione saying that there were 433 journalists who, in the 2019, in Italy, suffered serious threats and reckless, vexatious lawsuits for alleged libel. Libel lawsuits that nine times out of ten end by recognizing that the accused journalist is not guilty.
COMMENT – Ossigeno congratulated Emma D’Aquino and thanked her for having contributed, as we hope other journalists will do, to drawing widespread attention to this dramatic problem by stressing that it hurts not only journalists, but every citizen and as well as restricting the opportunity to freely conduct economic and entrepreneurial activities.
“Although the Italian phenomenon of censorship through violence has long been widely documented – commented Alberto Spampinato, director of Ossigeno per l’Informazione – unfortunately still today the terms of the problem are known only to experts, who continue to postpone the needed interventions. And so the problem gets worse every year, as happens to untreated diseases. I hope that on every public occasion everyone will find two minutes to talk about it, to say, as the courageous TG1 presenter did, that it is essential to prevent violent, arrogant, criminals from creating that information blackout that favours dishonest commerce and limits freedom and that this is in the interest of everyone and not just journalists “.