Wave of fire attacks against journalists in Italy

April 26, 2019

by Renata Rat

It wasn’t a peaceful Easter weekend for Italian journalists: they suffered a series of incendiary attacks then.

On 18. April, the car of Calabrian journalist Gianni Baccellieri burned down. Unidentified perpetrators littered it with a fire-starting liquid. The car was completely destroyed by the fire. Baccellieri works for Radio Antenna Febea, which broadcasts in the Calabria region. In a press release, his radio station expressed its solidarity with Baccellieri and added that this attack will not be able to stop its daily free flow of information.

The next day, on Good Friday, a similar incident took place in Sardinia. A fire destroyed the car of Unione Sarda journalist Valeria Pinna in Oristano, on the western part of the island. According to preliminary findings, the car had been parked in front of the journalist’s house when a flammable liquid ignited several of its parts. Pinna’s investigative work had recently dealt with the judicial proceedings related to an anti-doping operation during an equestrian tournament of La Sartiglia, Oristano’s carnival.

A third intimidating incident involving an incendiary liquid would follow, a few days later in Rome: a suspicious bottle was found in the car of L’Espresso journalist Floriana Bulfon.

Calabria: trouble spot

A month before, on 11. March, unknown attackers burned down the car of Il Quotidiano del Sud journalist Guido Scarpino in the Calabrian province of Cosenza. Previous to the attack, Scarpino had published articles about a judical investigation into ’Ndrangheta clan members. The ’Ndrangheta is a mafia-like organised crime group in Calabria.

This wasn’t the first time Scarpino became the victim of an incendiary attack; it had already happened to him in 2014. On 21. March 2019, the president of the Italian Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission, Nicola Morra, together with Five Star Movement deputies, presented a related parliamentary enquiry to the Ministry of the Interior.

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