Mafia threats on Italian journalists increasing

20 journalists protected by armed escorts.

According to a report just published by Italy's anti-mafia commission threats and attacks on journalists are on the rise. There were 2,060 acts of intimidation against journalists between 2006 and 2014; 421 of them in the first 10 months of 2014.

The findings were gathered from interviews with 34 experts and journalists between July 2014-2015.

At present 20 journalists are protected by police escorts and 11 have been killed. Sicily and Calabria are the most dangerous regions. Most of the threats go unpunished, according to the report, as it is difficult to bring a conviction. The mafia uses not only violence and threats but also law suits for slander and defamation to silence journalists.

The report, which was the first of its kind on the mafia and the media, also highlights the bad working conditions for investigative journalists, their low pay scales and the fact that many are freelancers, unprotected by any form of official contract.

The vote on the report by the parliamentary anti-mafia commission, chaired by Rosy Bindi, was unanimous.