Berlin, January 8, 2019–Italian authorities should quickly and thoroughly investigate the harassment and physical assault of two Italian journalists by a group of far-right extremists and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Yesterday, extremists harassed and assaulted Federico Marconi, a reporter, and Paolo Marchetti, a photographer, who were working for the weekly magazine L’Espresso, according to Italian news agency ANSA. The journalists were covering an event commemorating the victims of a deadly 1978 attack on far-right activists.
“We call on the Italian authorities to quickly and thoroughly investigate the attacks on L’Espresso reporters Federico Marconi and Paolo Marchetti and bring those responsible to justice,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator in New York. “Authorities should speak out forcefully against obstruction or intimidation of the media, and ensure that journalists can freely and safely cover events of public interest, including gatherings of extremist groups.”
L’Espresso wrote on its website that members of the neo-fascist movement Avanguardia Nazionale approached Marchetti, shoved and threatened him, and demanded he hand over his camera’s memory card. They took the card and demanded he show them his identification documents.
In the meantime, according to L’Espresso, another group attacked Federico Marconi. A member of the extremist party Forza Nuova grabbed Marconi by the neck while others in the crowd shoved him and kicked him in the legs. They took his wallet and cellphone, and deleted photos and videos from the phone.
According to ANSA, when asked by reporters, Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini responded to the incident by saying, “Those who beat people up should go to prison.”
The Italian Interior Ministry has not responded to CPJ’s phone and email queries regarding the incident.
Source: Committee to protect Journalists