Italy: Journalist Mario de Michele survived gun attack
Italian journalist and editor of the Campania Notizie news website, Mario de Michele, survived a gun attack on 14 November. The journalist escaped uninjured despite 10 bullets – six of which hit the car – shot by two unknown individuals while driving in the town of Gricignano d’Aversa. “It is a miracle he is alive”, the Italian journalists’ union Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (FNSI) said in a statement. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) stands in solidarity with the journalist and alerts about the very worrying decline when it comes to journalists’ safety in Italy and Europe.
The event took place near Naples, an area in the focus of Michele’s investigation because of the high building speculation. The attack is believed to be related to Michele’s articles on the city council dissolved a few days earlier, as well as activities of the Camorra, an organised mafia crime group. Three days prior the attack, the journalist reported threats and an assault by two individuals who physically attacked him, struck his car with an iron bar and warned him to stop writing about organised crime.
The EFJ joined its affiliate and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in calling on the authorities to investigate the case and urge them to find the responsible for this attack.
“It is an episode of unprecedented gravity that shows how Casertano is an area with very high criminal density. It is no coincidence that there are four armed escorted journalists in that territory. The colleague, with whom we stand in solidarity in these difficult times, must be guaranteed the maximum protection for him and this family. Our duty now, as journalists, is not to leave him alone and to continue the stories he was telling. We must be his media escort”, says FNSI’s leaders.