Dunja Mijatović said it visiting the headquarters of the Observatory on threatened journalists at the Casa del Jazz in Rome
OXYGEN 22 June 2023 – “The monitoring of attacks against those who provide information in Italy carried out by Ossigeno per l’Informazione is a valuable tool, it should be extended to all of Europe”, said the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatović, on 22 June 2023, visiting the headquarters of the observatory on threatened journalists and violently obscured news, at the Casa del Jazz in Rome.
Upon her arrival at the Casa del Jazz, a large villa in central town seized to Mafia bosses, the Commissioner made homage to the memorial located at the entrance to commemorate thirty Italian journalists killed because they “searched for the truth” and 900 innocent victims of the mafia.
In front of the memorial wall, she paused in recollection and, to pay homage to the memory of all these victims, she laid down a young flowering plant.
The ceremony was attended by the president of Ossigeno, Alberto Spampinato, the Ossigeno general secretary Giuseppe F. Mennella, the director of the Casa del Jazz, Luciano Linzi (representing the Fondazione Musica per Roma) and numerous collaborators of the Italian observatory. Then, the Commissioner, together with the delegation who have accompanied her to Lampedusa and Palermo in precedent days, participated in a meeting with the Observatory team, which illustrated her the latest worrying assessments of Ossigeno.
In the last two years, Ossigeno’s president and secretary said, we have noticed a truly alarming trend: threats are increasing and complaints to the authorities are decreasing. While the countermeasures proposed for some time, even that requested by the Constitutional Court, continue to be postponed from year to year, SLAPPs, intimidations, threats, violent retaliations are increasing (they doubled in 2022 compared to the previous year) and almost always they remain unpunished. Meanwhile, the number of threatened journalists who react by formally denouncing the perpetrators of the threats decreases. This tells us that, by dint of postponing the measures that have been awaited for decades, there is now more fear, more resignation, less trust in the authorities.
Unfortunately there is also too little awareness of the problem and there are few experts who can speak competently about these problems, to which media, schools and universities pay little attention. Therefore, said the president of Ossigeno, we want to create an European monitoring school, to train observers capable of recognizing, documenting and reporting violations of the right to information and also able of promptly assisting and helping the victims of these violations. Our school will make use of the thousands of examples of violations that Ossigeno has collected and documented publicly over the last 15 years. This collection is a sort of register of the journalists threatened in Italy, an encyclopedia on the infinite ways in which a journalist have been silenced and also on the possible forms of solidarity and assistance that can be practiced to effectively prevent the suppression of free voices with force, arrogance and abuse. Read more arc.ossigeno.info
Dunja Mijatovic showed a lot of interest in this school project and secured her support to Ossigeno to create it.
The meeting climate was very cordial.
“After years of collaboration, I am happy to finally be able to visit the Ossigeno headquarters which is located in Rome in a place where culture and freedom are celebrated”, she said, underlining her commitment to continue “to work together for freedom of expression and the press”. Watch the live stream.
“The trends you have detected are really worrying,” commented Dunja Mijatović, also referring to online threats and attacks against female journalists.
The visit to Ossigeno was one of the last stops on the Commissioner’s three-day visit to Italy. During the stop in Lampedusa, where met some NGOs operating in the Mediterranean Sea, the Commissioner said: “I am struck by the alarming level of tolerance towards the serious violations of the human rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants that has developed throughout Europe”. The theme of migrants is in fact central to this institutional journey, during which Dunja Mijatović also declared: “The news of violations of the human rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants are now so frequent that they are hardly registered in the public conscience”.GB – GPA