Berlin, May 24, 2019 — Italian authorities should swiftly and thoroughly investigate the police beating of La Repubblica reporter Stefano Origone and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Yesterday, a group of riot police officers beat Origone with batons and kicked him while the journalist was covering clashes among demonstrators near a rally staged by far-right party CasaPound in Genoa, according to a video of the incident published by his employer, Italian daily La Repubblica, and as Origone recounted in a report published today in the paper.
Police officers beat Origone while he curled in the fetal position, breaking two of his fingers and one of his ribs, according to his report in La Repubblica. He shouted that he was a journalist, but police only stopped beating him when one officer recognized him, Origone wrote.
“Italian authorities should hold to account the officers responsible for beating La Repubblica reporter Stefano Origone,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Journalists should be able to carry out their duty to report on demonstrations without being harassed or attacked; authorities should ensure their safety, not endanger it.”
In his report today, Origone wrote that he remained hospitalized in Genoa with heavy bruising and head trauma.
Riot police began beating demonstrators after CasaPound supporters and opponents clashed near the party’s rally, according to news reports.
“The journalist, Origone, was in the piazza to do his job in a peaceful manner as a reporter. I don’t know how he could have been mistaken for a rioter,” said Genoa’s chief prosecutor, Francesco Cozzi, according to German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into Origone’s beating, according to the broadcaster.
In an interview published by La Repubblica, Genoa Police Superintendent Vincenzo Ciarambino apologized for the officers’ attack on the journalist.
CPJ emailed the Genoa police for comment but did not immediately receive a reply.