Nello Scavo
ECPMF condemns insults against Nello Scavo outside the courthouse

Gavin.Rea

01 October 2020

No Comments

mfrr logo

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom condemns the insults faced by Italian journalist Nello Scavo as he left the court in Valletta, earlier today. Scavo was testifying in the criminal case against Neville Gafà, who had threatened him online. Upon leaving the hearing, Scavo and Maltese blogger Manuel Delia were insulted with vulgar epithets shouted in Italian by a crowd of people who had amassed in apparent support of Gafà.

 

On 27 June 2020 Gafà, a former person of trust in the Office of the Maltese Prime Minister, issued a threat against Scavo of the national newspaper Avvenire. In response to a tweet posted by AlarmPhone, an independent support organisation for people crossing the Mediterranean, Gafà called on the organisation to “stop your dirty business”. When Scavo responded questioning the former official’s record, Gafà called for him to “stop your dirty business. If not, we will be stopping you.”

 

At the hearing, Scavo testified that he felt threatened by Gafà’s tweets and wanted to know the identity of the people who would “stop him” from speaking about migration and refugees. Scavo has previously faced threats as a consequence of his reporting on human trafficking and fuel and arms smuggling. Since October 2019 he has lived under police protection.

 

We welcome the fact that the judge recognised the editorial staff of Avvenire and the National Federation of the Italian Press (FNSI) as civil parties in the criminal trial, as it gives appropriate recognition to the chilling effect on media freedom of threats against a reporter, beyond the immediate case at hand.

 

We further recall that the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was preceded by years of verbal threats, attacks on her home, vexatious legal actions and other forms of harassment. Verbal threats from government officials and high-profile individuals, in particular, demonise the media and independent scrutiny and can, if unaddressed, lead to physical acts of violence and send a message of impunity.

 

A verdict will be pronounced on 15 October 2020. We call on the court to ensure that their decision reflects the gravity of the crime.

 

Photo: Nello Scavo and Manuel Delia outside the Valletta Law Courts. Alessandra Dee Crespo for Repubblika.
MFRR_ECPMF part of MFRR Logos

This statement has been prepared by European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. This project provides legal and practical support, public advocacy and information to protect journalists and media workers. The MFRR is organised by a consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) including ARTICLE 19, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), the Institute for Applied Informatics at the University of Leipzig (InfAI), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT). The project is co-funded by the European Commission.

Read news by categories:

Related news

Feature

Greece: MFRR partners welcome acquittal of journalists in Novartis criminal case

The partner organisations of the MFRR today welcome the resounding exoneration of four Greek journalists and publishers who faced criminal charges and potential lengthy prison sentences linked to their media outlets’ investigative reporting.

READ MORE
Feature

Netherlands: Press freedom organisations welcome policy debate on media freedom and journalists’ safety

The partners in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and other undersigned press freedom organisations welcome the publication of the letter from the Dutch Government to the Parliament regarding a proposed policy approach on media freedom and safety of journalists.

READ MORE
Feature

ECPMF signs joint media freedom statement on the European Media Freedom Act

As the European Commission is finalising the draft proposal for a European Media Freedom Act, ECPMF has joined a coalition of media freedom groups to call for the EMFA to address issues around the European single market, media ownership and transparency of economic relations with the state, and how to support a vibrant, diverse and independent media sector.

READ MORE
Feature

Media freedom groups concerned by delay in investigation into leak of Emilia Șercan’s stolen photos

ECPMF joined a collection of media freedom and freedom of expression groups to express concern at delays to the investigation into the publication of Romanian journalist Emilia Șercan’s stolen photos and the alleged leak of key elements of the investigation into this offense. 

READ MORE
Mission

Czech Republic: MFRR pushes for reforms to strengthen independence of public broadcaster

Representatives from IPI and ECPMF travelled to Prague on 15 June to meet with officials from the Ministry of Culture and push for the development of reforms which strengthen the independence of the country’s public broadcaster.

READ MORE
Feature

Spain: Fine against photographer underscores urgent need for reform of Gag Law

Partners of the MFRR today express serious concern over the recent €1,000 fine issued to Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Javier Bauluz under Spain’s controversial “Gag Law”.

READ MORE