Writing about the Mafia in the land of the Mafia. The case of Marilù Mastrogiovanni

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Why Ossigeno asks to be a civil party in the trial in Lecce of the authors of the threats addressed to this journalist.The national Order of journalists has sent a note of support

OSSIGENO 22nd OCTOBER 2020 – Writing about the Mafia in Mafia territory is difficult. Very difficult. It is also risky. Being asked  “who makes you do this?” by friends, colleagues and acquaintances is the least that can happen to a reporter who does not limit her or himself to merely quoting what is written in a judgement or in a police report. Those who go beyond that risk insults, threats, denigration and lawsuits.

Lawsuits, because many people featured in articles that talk about Mafia matters believe that those who reason with quoted facts, those who link the facts together, those who make logical deductions, in doing so offend and defame. For these people, the perfect news reporter is someone more benumbed than an algorithm and is also quite a nitwit. A clever, competent, intelligent and passionate reporter like Marilù Mastrogiovanni is not appreciated by these individuals. On the other hand, she does not deserve the insults and intimidation she has had to suffer and is welcomed by Ossigeno. On the contrary, she fully deserves prizes and other awards for her commitment and professionalism, in addition to those she has already received nationally and internationally for her work and courage.

Marilù is a practical and courageous woman who does not succumb. She is a resolute reporter who does not allow herself to be immobilized by threats nor even by those inevitable relationships that must be maintained locally to continue living with one’s family where one was born, in her case in that settlement of the Salento, one of the territories where the State is challenged by the Mafia and other factions and which for journalists is one of the most difficult territories to explore and uncover. Marilù demonstrates the courage that every journalist has to have in those difficult situations.

For all this, and for the legal technical reasons that the lawyer Andrea di Pietro will present to the judges of Lecce, Ossigeno per l’Informazione, in agreement with Media Legal Defence Initiative, has decided to become a civil party alongside her in the trial which opens today of persons who have denigrated, threatened and offended her.

This trial represents further bitterness for Marilù: that of her being tried in turn for defamation following a lawsuit by those who threatened her. How dismal! Although conducting trials together is a technical choice that judges adopt to speed up the trials, this time we cannot help but censure this decision which in fact places on the same level those who have carried out their work with courage and competence in the public interest and those who have attacked the moral, professional and human sphere of a good, honest journalist in order to induce her to give up. Take courage Marilù and the judges of Lecce should also have courage.

The National Order of Journalists chaired by Carlo Verna, in a note published on its website“thanks and supports Ossigeno for the action alongside its colleague Marilù Mastrogiovanni, whose passionate commitment in defence of legality in zones that have become ever more difficult in recent years is known and appreciated by all of us. The occasion of the trial that affects her – which brings together on the one hand threats received and on the other alleged defamation – is useful for holding together two of our battles: that for the physical protection of colleagues, but also that for legislation (the so-called Di Nicola proposal) that raises, where the legal initiative is deemed to be reckless, the right to compensation for the person against whom the action was taken “.

ASP /wt

Read the account of the first hearing

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