European Federation of Journalists

Italy: Solidarity with journalist Emilio Orlando, threatened with death

Credits: FNSI

An envelope containing a bullet was sent to Italian journalist Emilio Orlando, whose investigations on the Roman mafia had already made him the target of threats. The letter was delivered to the Roman Trade Union of Journalists (Sindacato dei Cronisti Romani, SCR), a local branch of the FNSI.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate the FNSI in expressing solidarity with the reporter.

In the envelope, discovered on 28 November, the police found a 357 Magnum calibre bullet and a note: “This (bullet) is one of the six that we will stick in the head of the bast*** Orlando piece of sh**”. Dating from February, it was only found when the FNSI and the SCR moved offices. 

On the phone with the EFJ, Orlando said: “When Fabrizio Peronaci [president of SCR] told me that he found the letter. I was shocked and scared at first. But the threat won’t stop me from continuing my work and reporting about organised crime in the outskirts of Rome.”

The journalist said he did not know which investigation story the letter was connected to, as he became aware of its existence several months after it was sent. 

“In the past, I dealt with lots of dangerous criminals. I published numerous stories about mafia clans in municipalities around Rome, such as Tuscolana and San Basilio. I reported every threat to the police and will continue to do so.” 

Peronaci and SCR General Secretary Roberto Mostarda said that the journalist would not be silenced following this act of intimidation. 

Orlando, based in Rome, is known for his judicial reporting and investigations on the Roman mafia, with a particular attention to drug trafficking. He works for the Italian news agency LaPresse.

We call on the Italian authorities to bring those responsible for the death threat to justice and to ensure a safe environment for journalists to carry out their profession.

 Data from the NGO Ossigeno per l’informazione show that a total of 78 journalists were threatened in the Lazio region between January and October 2023, making it the first region in Italy for number of threats to journalists.

This statement by EFJ is part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries.