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Italy20 August 2002

Antiterrorist police search homes of two journalists

image 90 x 106 (GIF)  Reporters Without Borders today protested against the searches carried out yesterday by DIGOS antiterrorist police at the homes of two journalists, Fiorenza Sarzanini of the Corriere della Sera and Mario Menghetti of Il Messaggero. The searches came after both of these national dailies ran articles about the violence at the G8 summit in Genoa in the summer of 2001 that were apparently based on a leaked police report.

"The frequency with which the authorities have violated the confidentiality of journalist sources in the past few months is disturbing", Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Justice Minister XXXX. "These methods have been used at least five times against investigative journalists in 2002", Ménard said.

"We must remind you that the principle of the protection of journalistic sources is one of the essential conditions of press freedom, and democratic states respect this right", the letter continued. "We must also remind you that the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights monitor respect for this principle by member states and we ask you to ensure that the Italian judiciary does not violate it."

The 19 August searches of the homes of Sarzanini and Menghetti by the Rome antiterrorist squad were carried out on the orders of the Genoa prosecutor’s office. In their articles of 5 August, the two journalists are suspected of having cited a secret carabinieri report which focussed above on Carlo Giuliani, a young demonstrator who was killed by a member of the carabinieri. The antiterrorist squad was looking for documents that could help identify the source of this leak.

On 3 May, Reporters Without Borders protested against the search carried out at the home of La Stampa reporter Guido Ruotolo who was suspected of having published information that violated the secrecy of a judicial investigation into an Islamic network. At the start of March, the homes of two other journalists, Claudia Fusani of La Repubblica and Fiorenza Sarzanini of the Corriere della Sera, were searched for the same reason.

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