'Italy among first in Europe' for anti-journalist attacks

Report issued by Council of Europe-linked platform

28 April, 17:09

    BRUSSELS - Italy is among countries reporting the highest number of physical attacks against journalists in 2020, ranking second after Russia. It is followed by Serbia and the United Kingdom, according to data published in the annual report prepared by 14 international organizations of journalists tasked by the Council of Europe with managing a platform on which reports of attacks against the press are published. The attacks are reported in the 47 member states including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Hungary and Poland.

    Ricardo Gutierrez, the secretary general of the European Federation of Journalists, said it is "necessary to be cautious when comparing data from different countries". He explained that reports also depend on how national associations work. "Italy is a specific case, because in this country there is a correlation between the number of cases of violence and those of intimidations against journalists", said Gutierrez, explaining that many of the reports published for the country come from the National press federation.

    "On the other hand, we don't report all cases because it is impossible and the message to national associations is to focus on the most important cases", he added.

    Organizations managing the platform for the defense of the freedom of the press of the Council of Europe state moreover that episodes of violence against journalists are underestimated in southeastern countries that are members of the organization.

    For Italy, out of 11 reports published in 2020, six concerned physical attacks against journalists. Cases included an attack against a troupe of Sky Tg 24 in Naples during an anti-lockdown demonstration, one against journalist Mimmo Rubio, who was also a victim of anti-lockdown protesters, and attacks against various journalists who were following far-right protests in Rome in June 2020.

    "The number of reports of physical attacks against journalists of member countries has doubled between 2016 and 2020, from 24 cases to 52", concluded Gutierrez.

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