An extract from the journalist Paolo Berizzi, under police escort, given at the conference “Too many threats to journalists. UN alarm “.
The first risk of telling what you see is practical: there are those who cannot swallow that the journalist does his job and therefore attacks him. First they try to discredit him, then they move on to insults, then to threats, then to intimidating acts. This happened to me.
The second risk is that those who attack you feel, incredibly, entitled to do so, convinced that they enjoy a sort of impunity.
In Italy, a delegitimization of journalists has been underway for some time now by the political, economic and criminal powers. Thus journalists end up becoming easy targets for insults, warnings, gagging lawsuits, verbal and physical attacks.
I did a very simple thing. I reported in the newspaper events that had been under everyone’s eyes for years, but almost everyone didn’t want to see.
I looked at them and wrote about them. And for this – “simply” for this – today I am forced to live under police guard.
The resumption of right-wing extremism, the return of neo-fascist groups, the emergence of these formations are direct effects of the season of nationalism and “nativism”, the season of fears and anger.
What we call “lone wolves” – I think of the neo-Nazi and supremacist bombers, of the German, American, New Zealand Luca Trainis – are wolves but they are not alone. They are part of a large pack, too numerous, widespread, often underground, even in Italy.
When a journalist ends up under police protection, it’s a defeat for the state. And if, in my case, you end up under police escort not for the Mafia – like almost all my other colleagues – but for “political reasons”, because you are attacked by groups that are outlawed and that should not even exist, well, this is a paradox.
The Mafia cannot be eliminated in two days. But the neo-Fascist and neo-Nazi formations, yes. It is good that the state protects reporters. But the state can and must do more. Eliminate the threat, close down these groups by enforcing the anti-Fascist constitution and the laws.