The Mafia method: the new judicial approach is strengthened 

The decision of the Bari Public Prosecutor to recognise the aggravating circumstances of the woman who attacked the journalist Maria Grazia Mazzola joins the similar ones of the Rome and Catania Public Prosecutors’ Offices.

Ossigeno per l’Informazione regards as very important the formal recognition of the Mafia method in the case of the woman investigated in Bari for the serious attack on Maria Grazia Mazzola (read here on attacked while doing her work for Rai.

Immediately after the aggression, Ossigeno underlined the analogy, in terms of both social relevance and the form of threat, between this aggression and those of the preceding months to Daniele Piervincenzi and Edoardo Anselmi in Ostia and to Paolo Borrometi in Sicily. For these acts of violence the prosecutors of Rome and Catania had already recognised the specific aggravating character of the Mafia method of intimidation thus showing that with the legislation already in force the investigating magistracy can act with greater determination and awareness of the purposes and the social gravity of these crimes against journalists.

On October 22nd 2018, in the Italian Senate, Ossigeno has expanded upon these considerations during the international conference on impunity (read here), promoted under the patronage of UNESCO.

The opening speech and subsequent contribution of the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro (read here) had pointed out that the failure to recognise the aggravating Mafia factor for the aggression on Maria Grazia Mazzola raised doubts that the new orientation (emerging out of the events in Ostia and in Sicily and appreciated by Ossigeno and experts of international organizations that participated in the conference) had not yet been accepted by the entire Italian judiciary. Now, with the completion of the investigation, this doubt seems to have been removed.

We emphasise this with satisfaction and we hope that it will be confirmed by the indictment and the outcome of the trial. If the aggressors are prosecuted and punished with the severity allowed by the evidence and current legislation, we will have further important confirmation of the increased capability of the legal system to end impunity for these crimes, and of the willingness to strengthen the safety of journalists by reducing impunity which in Italy in this field is still very high: around 90 per cent.

There is another important aspect of this affair that has not been picked up in the preliminary investigation. Maria Grazia Mazzola is a journalist of Rai. When she was attacked and prevented by force from doing her job, she was preparing a news report for the public broadcasting network.

For a similar episode, against the journalist Nello Trocchia   in Vieste in July 2017, the General Prosecutor of Foggia, with an unprecedented ruling has charged the offender with the offence of   interrupting a public service. The freelance journalist Nello Trocchia was preparing a news service for the program   Nemo   on RAI-2.

We wonder why those who attacked Maria Grazia Mazzola cannot be accused of the same offence. As we explained in commenting on the Trocchia case (see here), journalists carry out an activity of social relevance: informing citizens about facts of great interest. Whoever prevents journalists from working interrupts a public service, harming citizens who have the right to know all that is relevant. And all the more so if that service is provided by public service broadcasting networks.

ASP (wt)

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