Italian government risks freedom of the press

Council of Europe headquarters, Strasbourg

STRASBOURG - The freedom of the press and the safety of reporters in Italy have “clearly” deteriorated in the last year, announced a report from The Council of Europe, an organisation outside the European Union that deals with Europe’s protection of human rights, La Repubblica reported.

 The situation of “growing violence” against the press in Italy has been declared as “particularly worrying” by the Council of Europe. The situation in Italy contributes to a climate of intimidation and risk for the safety of journalists across the continent that brings the freedom of the press to a fragility “never seen since the end of the Cold War,” voiced the Council.

 The report was commissioned to 12 organisations in different countries that manage the assembly platform for the protection of journalism. According to the Council, the results of the Italian survey show that “most of the registered alarm occurred after the establishment of the new government on June 1, 2018.”

 In the report, Deputy Prime Ministers Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio were named among the politicians who are most antagonistic towards the media.

 “The two deputy prime ministers, regularly express a particularly hostile rhetoric towards media and journalists on social media,” the report commented. “among other things, Salvini has threatened to remove journalist Roberto Saviano’s escort, despite the death threats that he has received from criminal organisations,” it added.

 Moreover, “Di Maio insulted journalists after the Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi’s trial and started a policy to abolish public funding of the press,” underlined the text. This has led Italy to be “one of the countries with the highest number of reports in 2018” for attacks and threats to journalists.