6 settembre 16:20  |  English Edition

Rome, September 6 – Several human rights organizations are assessing possible legal action against two Italian newspapers that ran front-page headlines on Wednesday accusing migrants of bringing disease to Italy. Social networks are awash in criticism of Libero and Il Tempo, right-wing and conservative newspapers that used their front pages to accuse migrants of the recent death of a young girl in the Trento hospital in northern Italy from malaria. Four-year-old Sofia Zago apparently died of the same strain of malaria from which a Burkina Faso family recovered after a return visit to their home country. Libero’s front-page headline translates as “After Poverty, Now They Are Bringing Disease” and another article within it was entitled “Immigrants Suffering from Deadly Diseases Spread Infection…”. The Il Tempo headline translates as “Here is the Migrant’s Disease”. The Articolo 21, A Mano Disarmata, Progetto Diritto, Rete Nobavaglio and the Italian branch of Amnesty International have asked their legal teams to look into possibly reporting the publications to the judiciary for violation of a 1993 law that prohibits gestures, actions and slogans linked to neo-Fascism that intend to incite violence and discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or nationality, as well as Article 658 of the Criminal Code on spreading alarm among the public. The abovementioned “headlines and summaries take their cue from a hypothesis that has not been proven in any way,” the associations noted, “and cannot be considered ‘opinions’, since they report events that never happened as if they were fact. As citizens even before professionals in the field of information, we are for freedom of expression as protected by Article 21 of our constitution.” “However, we are also compliance with the law,” they added, “and above all we are for the free information that protects the main asset of democracy: the truth. We ask all citizens, associations and political parties to join us in this fight for civilization.” Much lively discussion has been seen on Facebook on the issue, with many disputing the theory of how the disease was transmitted. “I am against censorship and denunciations. My freedom is theirs,” TgLa7 director Enrico Mentana said. “But this morning’s headlines in Libero and Il Tempo are very far from the truth and incite readers to ugly thoughts”.

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