The five years under of police escort of Federica Angeli
It was hard, she admitted. But in the end her investigative journalism into mafia crime in Ostia obtained the seal of approval of the magistracy.
In 2013, the journalist Federica Angeli, legal affairs reporter for the newspaper “La Repubblica”, began her courageous investigative journalism revealing that, in Ostia Lido, the large Roman neighbourhood on the coast where she lived with her family, there was a bloody mafia criminality that dominated and conditioned the activities of the public administration with violence and corruption.
She reported it for some time but nobody wanted to believe it. And so she decided to prove it with the tools of the trade, with the weapons of journalism, with an investigation in the field. At last the newspaper gave her a green light and she plunged headlong into her arduous undertaking.
Today we can say how it went. Her undertaking has been long, difficult and risky. She has had to swim often against the current. She has had to suffer insults and threats. Often she remained isolated and had to endure provocations and denigration. But she never gave up and in the end she succeeded in her aim.
What she had described in her 2013 investigations was confirmed by the judiciary on the 25th January 2018, with a warrant that ordered 32 arrests precisely in the area of Ostia. Many arrests were made against the people Federica identified in her first articles, some against the people who had threatened her.
Five years are long. For Federica and her family members they were also very harsh, distressing and dangerous. She lived through them as a journalist threatened with death, protected by armed police, with a heavy escort that guarded her 24 hours a day. In Italy, another 20 Italian journalists live under the same conditions, threatened with death. Recently the protection has been extended to Federica’s relatives.
She admitted herself how difficult these five years have been in a warm open letter addressed to her three children and which is now included in her book entitled “A mano disarmata” [unarmed] ( Editor Baldini and Castoldi, 2018), in which she states:
“It was hard for you and it was hard for me too. Sometimes I had to defend you also from my fears and weaknesses (…). “
It was a real ordeal of which these are only the main stages.
On the 23rd May 2013, she was threatened with death and held captive for an hour in a room of a bathing establishment by the entrepreneur whom she was interviewing, on behalf of her newspaper, on the obscure method by which he had obtained the concession for the use of that stretch of beach. In 2018 that entrepreneur was arrested for mafia crimes.
On the 15th July 2013 she was an eyewitness of a murder. She described the facts in an article for “La Repubblica” and gave a detailed witness statement to the police.
For one year no newspaper, not even the one she worked for, informed their readers that Federica Angeli had been threatened because of her work and therefore lived under police escort.
On the 30th May 2014 Ossigeno per l’Informazione broke the silence and put an end to the isolation of Federica Angeli highlighting her situation, expressing public solidarity and publishing a large dossier on her story.
Only from 2016 onwards has solidarity towards this journalist become broad and, general. For her civil and professional merits and for her personal courage she has received numerous awards, first of all that of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, who named her Knight of the Order of Merit of the Republic. “With her articles, her courageous uncompromising investigations compromising she has made and is still making a contribution to the fight against the organized crime proliferating in Ostia and on the Roman coast”
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