Ten probable intimidations identified – 9th July 2018

A summary of violations of press freedom committed in Italy by threats, intimidations and abuse against journalists and other media workers.

Ossigeno per l’Informazione maintains that each of the following episodes deserve a careful verification to establish if – as it appears from a initial examination – they represent actual and unjustifiable violations of press freedom and freedom of expression and if, as a consequence, the journalists and the others who have been affected deserve support and assistance. Having already employed its own resources in a timely verification of other episodes equally deserving attention, the Observatory hopes that other organisations can take up these cases and make public their findings as Ossigeno does.

  1. Parliamentary correspondents from various publications excluded.

Rome – on the 21st June 2018 the assistants of parliamentarians gathered to elect the presidents of the various commissions of the lower house compelled parliamentary correspondents to quit the corridors around the entrances to the rooms. It was a well-established custom for journalists to wait there to receive declarations and comments by parliamentarians. The parliamentary press association which handles accreditations together with the presidency of the lower house has protested. The president of the lower house, Roberto Fico has been informed and has undertaken to discuss the issue in the next few days with the association, “with the intention to ensure that the spaces of the lower house (Montecitorio) are as accessible to the press as is possible”.

This was reported amongst others by Primaonline, Affari Italiani, Skytg24 and FNSI on the 21st June 2018.

2. Political news – the editorial offices of Affariitaliani.it

Fiumicino (Rome) – The mayor of Fiumicino, Esterino Montino announced in a press conference that he was suing the online newspaper affariitaiani.it for an article which maintained that in July he would face trial and could be found guilty.

The website affariitaliani.it broke the news on the 19th June 2018.

3. Political party finance – Giuseppe Falci

Rome – the Foundation EYU headed by Francesco Bonifazi has sued the journalist Giuseppe Falci of Corriere della Sera for an article published on the 19th June 2018 with the title “The mystery of the study commissioned by EYU (PD) which is nowhere to be found”. The journalist is referring to a study commissioned by the Foundation which talks of possible administrative irregularities flatly denied by the Foundation.

It is reported in a headline of the ANSA agency on 19th June 2018.

4. Sports news – the editorial offices of Mediagol.it

Frosinone – Frosinone FC has sued for defamation in print, the editor in chief and the editor of Mediagol.it and the writers of the article, “The referee La Penna works in the offices of the lawyer who is defending the company of the former president of Frosinone FC, Benito Stirpe” (read here). The article was published on the 18th June 2018 and refers to links between a law office in Rome and the company of which the football club forms a part. The article refers to a match on the 17th June 2018 part of the playoffs of Division B between Frosinone and Palermo subject to an appeal by the Sicilian team which lost. The article refers to a possible link even indirect between the referee, a lawyer in a Rome law office and the ownership of Frosinone FC.

TuttoFrosinone e Mediagol carried the news on the 19th June 2018.

5. Sports news – Journalists of Gazzetta di Reggio

Reggio Emilia – Several Facebook users insulted the journalists of La Gazzetta di Reggio following an article on the sale of the football club of the region by the current owners. “News worthy of jail” “terrorists journalists”, “you have no capacity to write, idiot journalists” are several of the comments directed at the editorial staff of the Gazzetta accused of having written fake news. The statement reported by the newspaper was actually sent directly by the owners to the editorial offices of the Emilia newspaper.

The Gazzetta di Reggio reported it on the 18th June 2018.

6. Legal news – Salvo Bella

The journalist Salvo Bella has filed a complaint against a lawyer who on the 17th June 2018 is alleged to have sent a threatening message to him after one of his articles on the trial of Massimo Bossetti for the murder of Yara Gambirasio published in the blog il Delitto led to a trial beginning in Venice regarding death threat to magistrates in which Bosetti is a witness.

This was reported by il Delitti of which Bella is chief editor on the 18th June 2018.

7. Political news – Lucio D’Amico

Messina – the regional deputy and the mayoral candidate of Messina Cateno De Luca on the 13th June 2018 has harshly attacked la Gazzetta del Sud and the journalist Lucio D’Amico during an election rally for the local elections.

The order of journalists and regional Assostampa expressed their support for D’Amico.

The websites of the Order of journalists, the regional Assostampa and the online newspaper strettoweb.com carried the news.

8. Political news: Claudia Di Pasquale

Venice – the mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro during a TV interview on TeleVenezia described the programme of RAI3, Report “ as cowardly, false, an infamous episode which dishonours reputable journalism which fortunately still exists in Italy”.

The mayor had attacked the broadcast of Sigfrido Ranucci for a feature prepared by the journalist Claudia Di Pasquale on an investigation of several building projects in the area of Pili.

This was reported by, amongst others, Venezia Radio TV and la Nuova Venezia.

9. Legal news: Roberto D’Agostino

Rome- the chief editor of the website Dagospia, Roberto D’Agostino admitted to having modified an article dealing with the president of ACEA Luca Lanzalone and the arrests following the investigation into the proposed Rome football stadium but only for the section dealing with several episodes of his private life. The decision according to what D’Agostino stated and reported by press agencies was taken following pressure and threats of legal action which according to D’Agostino would have led to long and costly trials. D’Agostino did not say who had made the threats. In the court order regarding precautionary detention following the Rome stadium investigation, Lanzalone, according to the ANSA press agency, had asked the developer Parnasi, (also under arrest) to exercise pressure on Dagospia to modify the article.

In reply, the chief editor of Dagospia confirmed that the article in question is still online with a single modification to avoid legal action.

Two news items from the ANSA agency refer to it on the 13th and 14th June.

10. Public information – Journalists of RAI

The interior minister, Matteo Salvini replying to a question by Lilli Gruber regarding the nominations for the Cda during a episode of OttoeMezzo (La7) stated that the news programmes of RAI are opposed to the new government. “Several RAI news programmes look like those of the Twenties and Thirties. I’m saying it as a journalist, these weeks I’m watching a project of disinformation across all the networks which is unprecedented in Italy. The parties of government will not stand by but will make balanced and intelligent choices. In contrast to those who preceded us merit and competence will be looked for.” (see here).

This was reported amongst others by Il Fatto Quotidiano and the Huffington Post on the 12th and 13th June 2018.

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