EFJ Calls for Broad Support to Italian Journalists as “Democracy Is at Stake” in Vote on Criminal Code

Today the European Federation of Journalists(EFJ),

the European group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), called

for a broad support to Italian journalists in their opposition to the reform of

the Criminal Code and their struggle for press freedom.

"The Italian Parliament is asked to vote a text

that would restrict journalists' possibility to use or to refer to telephone

tappings. This vote takes place at the time media and individual journalists

are pushed to censorship by politicians. So, we can genuinely say that Italy's

basic democratic values are currently at stake," said EFJ President Arne König.

"Press freedom and the right to information need to be guaranteed in Italy".

The draft law increases the punishment for journalists and

publishers who refer to tapped documents with penalties up to three years of

prison and up to € 465,000 fines.

In addition to this draft law, media professionals are concerned about

increasing attacks after scandals over the private life of Italian Prime Minister

Silvio Berlusconi.

Media such as La Repubblica and the Spanish El Pais which published articles and pictures on this issue have been strongly attacked

by Mr. Berlusconi. With the support of some of his ministers, Mr Berlusconi reportedly

tried to block the circulation of newspapers and to censor television channels,

which he claimed were "trash media". 

The EFJ affiliate, the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa

Italiana (FNSI) and the publishers' association (FIEG) called on journalists to

continue to work for an ethical and a free journalism. European journalists

fully support this struggle for press freedom in Italy as the country risks to drift

away from European standards of press freedom.

Messages of support and solidarity can be sent

to: esteri@fnsi.itesteri.fnsi@fnsi.it

For more information: +32 2

235 22 15
The EFJ represents

over  250,000 journalists in more than 30

countries of Europe