Police vehicles are seen in Naples, Italy, on April 6, 2021. An unidentified man recently attacked Italian journalist Carmen La Gatta and her reporting team. (Reuters/Ciro de Luca)

Unidentified man attacks Italian TV crew with metal chain, injuring 3

Berlin, April 27, 2021 — Italian authorities must conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the attack on Rete 4 TV reporter Carmen La Gatta and her crew, and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On April 11, an unidentified man attacked La Gatta and two Rete 4 support staffers while they were conducting interviews in the northwestern city of Cuneo, according to news reports, video of the attack, and La Gatta, who communicated with CPJ via email. She told CPJ that the two crew members preferred not to be publicly identified.

The journalist told CPJ that the team was reporting on the illegal occupation of houses in the area for the privately owned broadcaster’s “Fuori dal Coro” program, and when they approached a woman to interview her, the woman shouted at them and became angry. The woman’s partner then attacked the reporting team, punching them and hitting them with a metal chain on their arms, legs, and chests, La Gatta said.

The crew took refuge in the TV station’s car, where they called the police, while the man used the chain to smash the windows of the car. By the time police arrived, the man was no longer at the scene and was not arrested, according to La Gatta and those news reports.

“Italian authorities should take the attack on Rete 4 TV reporter Carmen La Gatta and her crew seriously, find the perpetrator, and make sure that they are held responsible for this violent act,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Journalists who cover issues of public interest must be able to work without fear of assault.”

The reporting team was taken to the emergency room following the attack, where they were treated for bruises and cuts from broken glass, according to La Gatta and those reports.

La Gatta told CPJ that police in Cuneo have opened an investigation but she said no arrests have been made. CPJ called the police station of Cuneo and left a message seeking comment, but did not receive any reply.