Palermo. Lit candles in front of the house of an “unwelcome” journalis

Among other things, the journalist had published news about a bathing establishment seized by an anti-mafia ban on its managers. He says: everything happens here and you don’t know who you have to watch from.

OSSIGENO July 29th  2022 – The journalist Riccardo Vescovo found two “votive candles” lit in front of his home. He interpreted the gesture as a death threat and filed an official  complaint against unknown persons to the police  who removed  the candles as evidence of the offence and started investigations. It happened in Balestrate, a municipality in the metropolitan city of Palermo, on November 4th  2021, but news of it emerged  only five months later (read).

Riccardo Vescovo is the owner of the blog ‘Balestratesi.it’. In the past he worked on the ‘Giornale di Sicilia’ and collaborated with Telejato. Assostampa and  the Sicilian order of journalists have expressed solidarity with Riccardo Vescovo, author of several investigations in the area. The journalist, among other things, dealt with the concessions for the management of the municipally owned  villa of the beach establishment (read here and here) and the seizure of the Lido ‘Le Vele’, located on a stretch of the Balestrate coast. Renamed the ‘Lido of shame’, it had been officially confiscated 2 years ago but had never been dismantled by its managers, who had had to close it because they were issued with  an anti-mafia ban (read here).

THE REPORTER – “I immediately reported the incident to the Police but I did not make it public to avoid the clamour that would follow,” Riccardo Vescovo told Ossigeno. “It was talked about months later when – added – the Municipality of Balestrate cleared out the Lido ‘Le Vele’ at its own expense. I followed this story and reported it on my blog. I have never stopped making inquiries, despite the fact that for some years I have been mainly involved in other activities related to the world of communication and environmentalism. I am a passionate journalist, I write what happens in my area. Western Sicily, between Palermo and Trapani, is an area with a high concentration of  Mafia, and yet there is an information deficit due to the crisis of newspapers and historical television stations and where unfortunately everything happens. If something comes out it is because there are some independent blogs, some ‘madmen’ like me who maybe go to look at a judicial  register and read some rulings. I know the risks of the trade. Many of my young colleagues at the first threat of a lawsuit no longer push on  the accelerator. When I found these ‘gifts’ in front of my house, I didn’t know if I should be more careful of someone who obviously wanted to harm me badly, or of local politicians who kept delegitimizing me and attacking me for my investigations “.

 SOLIDARITY – Just as Assostampa and Sicilian Order of  Journalists  did, Ossigeno expresses its public solidarity with Riccardo Vescovo and approves of his choice to formally denounce the still unknown authors of this disturbing gesture. This is a choice of self-protection that offers some guarantee to those  intimidated and also supports other reporters who are increasingly victims of physical and verbal threats. Those who continue to have the courage to provide information even in areas where the criminal presence is strong and often closely linked to the social, political and entrepreneurial context, must be publicly supported and never left alone. LT wt

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