Italian journalists receive death threats following mafia don’s funeral

September 3, 2015

Source: The guardian

Attacks on investigative reporter and team from Rai 3 politics show come amid indignation over Hollywood-style service for Vittorio Casamonica.

Vittorio Casamonica

Two journalists, one in Rome and one in Naples, have received death threats for reporting on local crime boss Vittorio Casamonica’s Hollywood-style funeral in Rome.

The ceremony at San Giovanni Bosco church on 21 August prompted indignation as it featured a gilded carriage driven by six horses, a band playing the music from The Godfather, and rose petals being thrown from a helicopter.

The following day, Alessio Viscardi, an investigative reporter for web newspaper, was in Terzigno, near Naples, looking for the airfield from which the helicopter had taken off. He was approached by four people, who took photographs of his documents.

C5JY0B marlon brando in the godfather 1972

C5JY0B marlon brando in the godfather 1972

“The attackers came by car after I’d taken a few shots of the airfield,” said Viscardi. “They stopped me and threatened me with death.”

Footage of the episode reveals a clear threat to the journalist, with one of those present saying “I’ll kill you” (“Ti uccido” in Italian).

Viscardi later filed a complaint with local police.

The second attack occurred the next day, in Rome, and involved a team from public TV station Rai 3, including journalist Alfonso Iuliano, his camera operator and sound engineer.

The three, working for the current affairs show Agorà, were shooting video in the Appio area, in which Iuliano knew that several members of the Casamonica family were living. The journalists were stopped and attacked by local residents, who threated them with death if they did not stop filming.

“They said to us they were going to beat us to death, more than once, and from more than one person,” Iuliano said.

The camera operator was left with a few scratches on his arm, while two people, related to Casamonica’s family, were arrested and later charged with robbery after allegedly taking the journalists’ phones.

Luigi de Magistris, the mayor of Naples, expressed his support for Viscardi, saying: “We can’t accept that a journalist is threatened with death.”

In Rome, the attack on the Rai 3 journalists prompted concern from deputy mayor Marco Causi and of transport councillor Stefano Esposito.

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