European Federation of Journalists

Italy: journalists’ union calls on the profession to improve media coverage of femicides

The Italian Journalists’ Union (FNSI – Federazione Nazionale Stampa Italiana) yesterday called for greater awareness when reporting about gender violence and in particular, femicides. This important wake-up call was published by the FNSI ‘Commission for equal opportunities’ whereas the headlines and news regarding the murder of a woman has raised controversy in Italy.

The case of the murder of Elisa Pomarelli, near Piacenza, reached national news when the body was found after two weeks of intensive search that ended with the confession of a man, who said to be Pomarelli’s friend. The reports in newspapers, TV, radio stations and digital platforms show a focus on the man, his motivations and a superficial vocabulary that seeks for a justification of the crime. Some of the headlines can be translated as “He loved her, but she had rejected him”, “A good giant unable to hurt” or “A raptus for too much love”.

Anna del Freo, FNSI’s deputy General Secretary, denounced once again the non-application of the Venice Manifesto (in Italian) and called for a sharp cultural change:

“It is necessary that journalists start to use different words, respectful for the victims of femicide, and take into consideration the rules of the ‘Venice Manifesto’, which points to accurate information in cases of gender violence. We are trying to promote the Manifesto also in Europe, but it is still largely not applied. It takes a commitment on the part of all those who make information to promote a different culture, to protect the weakest, the victims’ dignity and respects women. Correct dissemination in the news is a key step to get rid of gender violence one day.

The Venice Manifesto, released on 2017, is a ten-point guideline signed by hundreds of Italian journalists in order to fight against every form of violence and discrimination against women through words and images.

Credit photo: Venice Manifesto