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When reporters cover their peer June 12, 2008

Posted by dorigo in news, politics, travel.

A 27 years old german journalist (that is all we know about him) calls emergency this morning upon being denied boarding the plane leaving from Verona to Wien: the flight is to leave in five minutes, and he is too late. He impersonates an islamic terrorist and claims there is a bomb on board. Then goes back to check-in, asking to be accepted on board because the flight is delayed. He is discovered, and denounced. Meanwhile flights are delayed, diverted to other airports. Discomfort, economical losses, disgruntled passengers.

Things like that are not so rare, and people who use such means to repair their lack of punctuality do not realize the gravity of their acts. However, what I find most disturbing is a detail hidden in the two online articles (one from Il Corriere, the other from La Repubblica, the two best-selling daily newspapers in Italy): the name of the journalist is not made. Since the denounce is a formal act, the newspapers cannot fear to be sued by the journalist if they name him (a different case would be that of a notification of ongoing investigations, which in Italy cannot be disclosed). So I fear we are in front of a blatant case of reporters covering their colleague’s reputation.

This speaks volumes about their moral code: italian reporters will otherwise always rise their arms against any attempt at censorship, discretion, defense of privacy. Huge chunks of meaningless phone conversations are published whenever editors come in possession of the writeups. The fact is being used these days by the italian government – minister Alfano and prime minister Berlusconi – to try and stop phone taping for suspects of every crime except the very worst. The suspicion that Berlusconi wants his hands and mouth free as he speaks about recommendations with his lacqueys is automatic, if you remember his outrage about one year ago at the publication of parts of a phone conversation he had with then president of the italian national television, RAI, when he “suggested” names of actresses in RAI productions.

Poor italy… Torn apart by the pull of castes. Politicians, but also reporters, lawyers, insurance companies, bankers. I fear this will never change.

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