Italy20 August 2002
Antiterrorist police search homes of two journalists
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.