[Editor’s Note: On May 18, 2020, Italian prosecutors charged Mario De Michele with slander and illegal possession of firearms after a police investigation found that the journalist had organized November 2019 and May 2020 shooting attacks against him, according to according to Ossigeno per l’Informazione, an Italian nongovernmental organization that tracks attacks on journalists, and the trade news site Giornalisti Italia. In an interview with news site Le Iene, De Michele admitted faking the May 2020 attack but claimed that he was a victim of an ambush in November 2019. CPJ is continuing to investigate and is monitoring the judicial process.]
Berlin, May 7, 2020 — Italian authorities must conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the shooting attack at the home of journalist Mario De Michele and ensure his safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
At about 2 a.m. on May 4, unidentified attackers fired at least three shots at the first floor of De Michele’s house in Caserta, southern Italy, while the journalist, his wife, son, and parents were in the building, according to a report by the Campania Notizie news website, where De Michele works as editor.
Campania Notizie has extensively covered organized crime in southern Italy. In an editorial published on May 5, De Michele said that he would not be intimidated by criminal groups and vowed to continue his work.
Police have opened an investigation into the case, according to Campania Notizie.
“Italian authorities must conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the attack on journalist Mario De Michele, find the perpetrators and those who ordered the attack, and bring them to justice,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Italian authorities must maximize their efforts to prevent such attacks and ensure that De Michele can do his work without fearing that he is putting his life or his family at risk.”
According to a report by the Italian National Press Federation, a national trade group, De Michele has been under police protection since November 2019. On November 14, 2019, he survived a shooting attempt while driving near the southern Italian town of Aversa, as CPJ documented at the time.
CPJ emailed the national press department of the Italian police for comment, but did not immediately receive a reply.
Italian authorities maintain 24-hour police protection for more than 20 journalists, and provide some form of protection to at least 165 journalists, according to CPJ research.