Scanzano Jonico. Filippo Mele under police protection

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A constant guard is required for Filippo Mele the doctor and journalist who received an anonymous envelope containing a bullet after the Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno published his accounts of an anti-Mafia blitz.

On October 27th, 2018, the Prefecture ordered a constant guard to protect the journalist-doctor Filippo Mele. This was reported by the Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno and by Mele himself on his blog (see here). Mele thanked the authorities who have decided on the protection measures and the police officers who he considers as his guardian angels. Mele renewed the challenge he had addressed to the nameless people who had threatened him, stating immediately “I am not afraid and I will continue to write my articles”.

After learning that he had received police protection, Filippo Mele wrote on his blog: “I did not change my behavior one iota. I still walk alone in late evening around Scanzano Jonico – a deserted town except for a few passing cars. I promised this to the criminals who threatened me “ (see here). Filippo Mele is a general practitioner with a surgery in Policoro and a journalist. He is the correspondent from Scanzano Jonico (Matera) for the newspaper La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, which has its main editorial offices in Bari. On October 10th, 2018, in front of the gate to his house in the countryside, in the region of Scanzano, he found an envelope on which neither the sender nor the recipient was indicated. He opened it. The anonymous envelope contained a blank sheet of A4 paper, an unexploded bullet and a red-ink ballpoint pen. Circumstances immediately suggested that it was intimidation directed at him for his journalism. A few days before the District Anti-Mafia Directorate of Potenza had broken up three criminal clans, one of a Mafia type, dedicated to extortion and drug trafficking. One of the three clans appeared to be led by a former policeman. The doctor-journalist had published various news articles on the judicial proceedings. In one of them – as reported in an article in the Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno – Filippo Mele “had hinted at alleged collusion with members of the police force”.

“I’m not afraid and I go ahead,” wrote Mele in an open letter published on October 11th in the Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno. The police of Policoro are investigating the matter. Mele informed them immediately after discovering the contents of the envelope. The investigators have also noticed a hole in the roof of the house, made perhaps with the intention of setting a fire.

Solidarity with the journalist was expressed by the National Federation of the Italian Press, the National Order of Journalists, dall’Assostampa, by the Basilicata regional Order of Journalists and the Disciplinary Board. The vice president of the Basilicata Region, associations, administrators and journalists of the area have also expressed solidarity.


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