Why is the deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio attacking journalists

It has to be asked if it is not a pre-meditated provocation in order to gain advantages in the bigger game with publishers. The editorial by Alberto Spampinato

The public protests for the generalised and sweeping insults directed on the 10th November 2018 by the Italian deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio at Italian journalists have continued for days and are guaranteed to last and widen in the absence of corrections and apologies and through the effect of the petrol that Alessandro Di Battista is throwing on the flames of the dispute.

Just as a reminder, on the 10th November 2018 Di Maio commented in this way on the acquittal of the Rome mayor, Virginia Raggi, of the charge of lying: “The worst aspect of this affair has been contributed by the overwhelming majority of those who still call themselves journalists but are only the lowest jackals, who every day for two years, with their ridiculous insinuations, have tried to convince the 5 Star Movement to dispense with mayor Raggi”.

The following day, after the first protests, Di Maio reaffirmed his statement without even correcting grammatical errors.
Ossigeno per l’Informazione identifies with the indignant reactions of the Italian National Press Federation (FNSI) and the Order of Journalists and has appreciated the appeal of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella to moderate the tone. The President considered it opportune to bear in mind that journalistic information and freedom of the press are necessary and useful precisely because they allow us (also the President) to know the opinions, even the most critical ones, of others. Similar recommendations have been made by AgCom, (the Authority for Communication Guarantees). Other institutions have also felt the need to draw attention to these principles that should be obvious and taken for granted in every democracy.

The fact that they have been pronounced by individuals such as the President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Roberto Fico and other members of the Five Star Movement of which Di Maio is the political leader, highlights the level of the dispute that the public debate has reached.
It is difficult to believe that Di Maio himself does not realize the incendiary effect of his accusations. And so it has to be asked if it is not driven by provocative intention, by the search for revenge or a diversion, which could consist in playing against journalists a game that they should actually play against far more powerful subjects such as publishers. It is easier to blame journalists. The sector – Di Maio also knows this – is affected by the serious consequences of a crisis in the publishing world that has been going on for many years and which has been right now been completely dumped on journalists.

It is time to strictly monitor the next political, trade union and legislative developments to prevent choices that would exacerbate the crisis of information, to be borne by citizens, not by a category of professionals.

ASP (wt)

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