VIENNA, 28 December 2012 – Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, expressed her concern today about threats to a newspaper in northern Italy and urged the authorities to carry out a swift and transparent investigation.
On 21 December, the staff of the daily newspaper Altomilanese received a letter containing a bullet, a photo of the newspaper’s editor Ersilio Mattioni, and a photo of a human rights activist.
“It is not only physical violence that harms media freedom and creates an atmosphere of intimidation,” warned Mijatović in a letter to Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata, adding that threats against journalists can also lead to self-censorship and the silencing of critical voices in society.
Mijatović said that this incident is the latest in the long list of cases in Italy where journalists reporting on organized crime were threatened.
“Italian authorities can fight this climate of fear by publicly condemning the threats and ensuring thorough investigations in all cases,” she emphasized. “The message must be sent that such behaviour is not tolerated and the perpetrators will be swiftly brought to justice.”