Solidarity of Ossigeno for the most read online magazine in the province of Taranto in the face of ostracism by city administrators criticized in some news articles
OSSIGENO July 31st 2021 – For the mayor and other exponents of the municipal administration of Manduria, a large town in the province of Taranto, this newspaper had overstepped the mark and the support of readers and advertisers had to be taken away. Therefore, they created a Facebook group called «Do you love Manduria? Stop following La Voce di Manduria” (see here). Through this social group they invited users to boycott the web newspaper of which the journalist Nazareno Dinoi is chief editor. But what did La Voce di Manduria do to arouse so much a reaction? It criticized the behavior of municipal administrators during the health emergency caused by the Covid infection. The mayor Gregorio Pecoraro and his did not like the articles that indicated them as ” vaccine sneaks” because they allegedly jumped the queue with respect to those more entitled.
“So the Town Hall tries to suppress and remove the oxygen (of advertising) from the free (and annoying) press”, the chief editor Nazareno Dinoi told Ossigeno, underlining that the appeal of the mayor and his friends is addressed also and above all to those who place their advertisements in this online newspaper, the most popular in the province of Taranto for local news, according to the surveys of Similarweb, the platform that measures user satisfaction of the network.
OSSIGENO in the past has already reported other unjustifiable attacks on this newsletter (see here and here). Today it expresses solidarity with Nazareno Dinoi and his collaborators and invites the administrators of Manduria and their friends to respect those who legitimately exercise the right to information and criticism in the interest of citizens.
BACKGROUND – At the basis of the position taken by the municipal majority, composed of members of the Green and Five Star parties and the former Democratic Party – the chief editor explains – there is the newspaper’s investigation into the vaccine queue jumping at the end of April 2021 (read here and here). ‘La Voce di Manduria’ reported that among the prematurely vaccinated were the mayor Gregorio Pecoraro, the president of the city council with his wife and other members of his staff. The Facebook group created after the publication of the articles and currently composed of 87 members, was joined by the spokesman and social media manager of the mayor, the head of his staff, councilors, unelected candidates, a lawyer, a municipal employee and others.
The solidarity of citizens and readers, who condemned the initiative, reached the ‘La Voce di Manduria’ . Some administrators who were initially part of the social boycotters, left the group and apologized to the chief editor Dinoi.
LAWSUIT DISMISSED – This attack is not the first that Nazareno Dinoi and his newspaper have suffered from the Town Hall. On June 22nd 2021, the investigating judge of the Taranto Court, Francesco Maccagnano, definitively dismissed the lawsuit of the former mayor Paolo Tommasino (who led a center-right coalition) against the editor and journalist Monica Rossi, accused of having defamed him. The dismissal of the case had been requested by the public prosecutor, but the former mayor opposed it. The lawsuit arose from a February 2017 article by Monica Rossi on the project of the former mayor’s wife, Grazia Di Lauro, to build a bathing establishment on a stretch of beach.
The investigating judge dismissed the proceedings because ‘the construction of a bathing establishment … in an area of particularly precious landscape can very well be of public interest. No selectivity in the name of Tommasino or his wife was emphasized by the journalist who … did not only evoke the entrepreneurial project of Maria Grazia Di Lauro, but also [other] similar initiatives … ‘ ‘. Always maintaining temperate language, ‘the argumentative structure of the article … does not appear … slanderous, but is the result of a personal reworking of factual and legal elements’.
THE JOURNALISTS – ” I have faced many attempts to gag and lawsuits by the so-called powers that be ” – Nazareno Dinoi told Ossigeno – The article by Monica Rossi reported the story of the administrative procedure of a practice for the granting of a lease for a state-owned area falling within a restricted reserve. The fact that the applicant was the wife of the mayor in office drew our attention ”. Monica Rossi expresses great relief for the case dismissal. “I have been writing for years for national newspapers. It had never happened to me to be called into question in this way for having told the facts. I always try to be objective and accurate in what I write because I think that simply telling the truth is best. But I see that some people don’t like me to tell the facts as they are ”. LT/wt